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Sunday, November 18, 2012

 Asian Hot Chicken Wings

It's fall. Football season. Doesn't really matter what teams are playing. At my house, the DVR is set to record any and all games televised. Hours and hours and hours of football. So, to give myself a bit of respite, I head to the kitchen to prepare snacks to be enjoyed in front of the tube, so we can enjoy hours and hours and hours, and days, and weeks, and months of pigskin excitement. Don't get me wrong. I like football. Just not as much as my college QB hub.  Anyway, I made these wings last Sunday, and they were good.  Sticky. Sweet. Spicy. Yum. I didn't document the process with pics, so pay attention to the directions, as that's all we have to work with.
Ingredients:
2 pounds chicken Drummies (heck, just get drumsticks, if you can't find Drummies)
1 cup (8 oz) plum sauce, found in the Asian section of the grocery store
3/4 cup Soy sauce
1/4 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 Tbls freshly minced ginger
3 Tbls freshly minced garlic
3 Tbls minced red onion
1 Tbls red pepper flakes
1 minced jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed
Cilantro
Chives
Sesame seeds

Method:

  1. Put plum sauce, soy sauce rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, and jalapeno into a sauce pot. Heat until thick and smooth.
  2. Heat about 3 inches Canola oil in a heavy Dutch oven, pot, deep fryer, whatever. When it reaches 375 degrees F, it's ready for the chicken.
  3. Dry thawed drummies with paper towels. Make sure it's really dry, otherwise, you will have massive oil splash.
  4. Add about half of the chicken pieces to the hot oil. Cook for 5-7 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
  6. After the oil has come up to 375, add the rest of the wings. Cook as before.
  7. After the wings have drained on the paper towels, put them in an oven safe dish.
  8. Pour the sauce over the top.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro, finely minced green onions, and sesame seeds.
  11. Serve with a bunch of wet paper towels.
  12. Revel in the sweet, hot, stickiness.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Potato Chowder

Creamy Potato Chowder

 I love soup. Particularly creamy soup. Chowder of any kind will always be my first choice, if given one. I was planning to just make a potato leek soup. There are a gazillion recipes out there. I came up with my own, with some pretty great results. Here's some of what we need, (I forgot to get pics of the rest, but we'll carry on anyway).

Leeks are on the bottom left.
 6 slices bacon
1 large white onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
5 stalks celery with leaves, diced
3 leeks, sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough ribs removed, chopped
1/4 cup flour 
4 cups (or so) sliced waxy potatoes. I used medium sized red ones. You could also use Yukon Golds.
3 Tbls white wine
1  32 ounce box chicken stock
1   32 ounce box beef stock
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Idaho Spuds Potato bits (really)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary and 3 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in a bundle
2 generous Tbls sour cream
6 small green onions, sliced

Vegetarian version: No bacon. Use butter. No chicken or beef stock. Use vegetable. Vegans: Outta luck with this one.

How it's done:


Dice up the bacon and put it in a cold Dutch oven. Render it slowly on low heat. That what makes it crispy. While the bacon is cooking, prep your veg.

Remove crispy bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
These are leeks. Chop off the tough green stems and use only the tender light green and white parts. Leeks are full of sand because they grow up through the sand. They must be cleaned thoroughly under cold water. See all that dirt? Not delish.

 


Now, throw all the carrots, onion, celery and leeks directly into the rendered bacon fat. All you fat haters out there, stick with me. This is a giant pot of soup with lots of really healthy stuff in it. Cook on 

medium heat until soft.




Add 1/4 cup flour and stir until the flour is no longer visible. Cook about 2 minutes to get the pasty taste out of the flour.


 Pour in one box of chicken stock and one box of beef stock. Give it a good stir. Add the sliced potatoes to the pot. Bring it to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer.
I have no idea why this section is underlined. I have done all I know how to make this go away, to no avail.
Cut the leaves off of the tough, fibrous center. Only a goat could chew through that. Lay the leaves flat on your cutting board and just stack them up, then chop away. No awards will be given for perfectly sized and matched pieces. Put the chard into the delicious smelling soup.



Give it stir, and just let it ride.

 Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream. 
 Add the Rosemary/thyme bundle. If you don't have fresh, use dried. Just make sure to finely mince the dried rosemary. Otherwise, it will feel like you're eating whole pine tree needles. Not delish.
 When the carrots and potatoes are tender, toss in the potato spuds. Stir it up. This will give the chowder a delicious potato taste, and give it a wonderful creamy texture. Who knew?
 When it's nice and creamy and thick, turn off the heat. Drop in a generous 2 Tbls sour cream. Full fat, lo fat, no fat. Doesn't matter. Gently stir in until melted.
Fish out the herb bundle.

Let's put this chowda' into a bowl and finish it off.
 Remember those crispy bacon pieces? Yep. Toss a few on top.
Sprinkle with some finely sliced green onions or chives. You could add a handful of cheddar or jack cheese. No one, except the fat haters, will judge you.


 And serve. Excellent by itself or paired with a Pannini sandwich for "soup and sammy" night . One tasty lunch or dinner for a cold night. Welcome snow!

Ingredients:
6 slices bacon
1 large white onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
5 stalks celery with leaves, diced
3 leeks, sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, tough ribs removed, chopped
1/4 cup flour 
4 cups (or so) sliced waxy potatoes. I used medium sized red ones. You could also use Yukon Golds.
3 Tbls white wine
1  32 ounce box chicken stock
1   32 ounce box beef stock
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Idaho Spuds Potato bits (really)
3 sprigs fresh rosemary and 3 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in a bundle
2 generous Tbls sour cream
6 small green onions, sliced

Vegetarian version: No bacon. Use butter. No chicken or beef stock. Use vegetable.

Method:
  1. Dice up the bacon and put it in a cold Dutch oven. Render it slowly on low heat.
  2. Remove crispy bacon to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  3. Put carrots, onion, celery and leeks directly into the rendered bacon fat. 
  4. Add 1/4 cup flour and stir until the flour is no longer visible. Cook about 2 minutes to get the pasty taste out of the flour.
  5. pour 3 Tbls white wine into the pot. Scrape the sides and bottom down with a wooden spoon.
  6. Pour in one box of chicken stock and one box of beef stock. 
  7. Add the Rosemary/thyme bundle.
  8. Add the sliced potatoes to the pot. Bring it to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer.
  9. Put the chopped chard into the soup.
  10. Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream.
  11. When the carrots and potatoes are tender,add the potato spuds.
  12. Turn off the heat. Drop in a generous 2 Tbls sour cream Gently stir in until melted.
  13. Fish out the herb bundle.
  14. Ladle into soup bowls. Top with bacon pieces and finely sliced green onions or chives.














Friday, October 12, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

It's what's for dinner; after you bring a new baby home, as was the case for my friend Anne, and my DIL Adrienne. It's also really good when the weather turns cold, when you need to feed a crowd, or you're just plain hungry.  And it's really good.
Let's make this.

  Start with a plain old Chuck roast, about 3 pounds. More or less is just fine.
Put a little (about 3 Tbls) vegetable oil in a screaming hot cast iron skillet and brown the roast on both sides. Season with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Slice up a large whole onion, any color,  about 3 carrots, 3 celery sticks, 3-4 cloves of garlic, and open one can of Cream of Mushroom soup, any kind. I used this Cream of Mushroom with roasted garlic because it was in the pantry.
Put them all in a Crock pot (or slow cooker, or in a Dutch oven), and cook on low for 8-10 hours. I did this the night before so it was done on the day I wanted to serve.
Takes about 15 minutes.





 Now it's time to get down to business. Let's take this dish over the top. Slice up 16 ounces of mushrooms. Button, Cremini, doesn't matter. Throw in a chopped onion.
Put them in a hot skillet with 2-3 Tbls butter, salt and pepper.  (Season every step of the way, otherwise, your food just tastes salty or bland). Brown them until they're dark brown; caramelized.
To add great depth of flavor. add 2 Tbls low sodium soy sauce. Stir.

 Then, add about 1/3 cup sherry. Stir until evaporated.


 Then, add about two or so Tbls flour. Stir and cook about three or so minutes. Get that pasty flour taste outta there.
When the mixture is dry, whisk in 2 cups beef broth. Any kind. Canned or boxed or home made. 
 Cook over medium / medium high heat until thickened.
Add a can of Cream of Mushroom soup. Any kind.

Stir.
Add about 1/2 cup dry red wine. I used Malbec as it was open, and I was drinking it. And it was delicious.

Add in the Crock pot cooked beef and diced onion/carrots/celery and all of the cooking liquid.

Taste. If the mixture isn't creamy enough, add another can of Cream of Mushroom soup.


Taste. Re-season, if necessary. Now, off heat, add 1 pint sour cream. Fat free, full fat, low fat, doesn't matter. Stir it in.
 Boil 1 pound egg noodles, according to package directions. Drain. Put in a large serving dish. I like a giant casserole dish.
Add the beef mixture to the noodles. Stir well. Top with Fresh chopped parsley and / or fresh chives.
Serve. And be glad. 
 Your family will revere you.








Wednesday, April 11, 2012

You Can Make This!: Roasted Green Beans with Shallots, Red Pepper, and Garlic

You Can Make This!: Roasted Green Beans with Shallots, Red Pepper, and Garlic


Roasted Green Beans with Shallots, Red Pepper, and Garlic



 I made these for dinner tonight along with some grilled chicken and baked potatoes. They were so much better than basic steamed or boiled beans. If you haven't roasted green beans before, give it a try. They're delicious. And cheap. I got a pound of green beans for .60 cents. Add 1 red pepper for .50 cents, 4 cloves garlic for pennies, about 6 shallots for about $1.00, and a handful of toasted pine nuts. Delicious, cheap, and pretty. Can't beat that.

Here goes: Wash and snap off the ends of 1 pound of super fresh green beans. No wimpy beans here. Make sure they are crisp and moist. Then dry them off so they roast, rather than steam.
Slice up 1 red bell pepper.
Halve about 6 shallots. Keep them fairly thick so they don't burn. Throw in some whole or half garlic cloves.  I made some roasted garlic, so had the cut off garlic tops, peeled, and tossed those in.
Pour some Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Place in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir them up with a spatula.
Return to oven for another 10 minutes.
                                         Remove from the oven and zest 1 lemon over the top.
                                     Add a handful of toasted pine nuts (or toasted almonds)
                                                                    And dig on in.

Ingredients
1 lb fresh green beans
1 Red Bell Pepper
6 cloves garlic
6 shallots, halved
2 Tbls Olive Oil
Kosher salt 
Fresh cracked pepper

Method
1. Wash and snap off the ends of 1 pound of fresh green beans. 
2. Halve 6 (or so) shallots. 
3. Add 6 whole or halved cloves fresh garlic.
4. Pour 2 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil over the top. 
5. Sprinkle with 2 tsp Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper.
6. Place in a pre-heated 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. 
7. After 10 minutes, stir them up with a spatula.
8. Return to oven for another 10 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and zest 1 lemon over the top.
10. Add a handful of toasted pine nuts (or toasted almonds).
11. Toss and serve warm.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Oysters on the Half Shell

Oysters On The Half Shell
My hub and I were in California recently where fresh oysters are abundant. Now, my hub absolutely LOVES raw oysters, so whenever he spots them on a menu, of course, he orders at least a half dozen or so (or several dozen) of these rock like mollusks.  Tomorrow being Valentine's day and all, I thought I'd show you how to put together your own platter of this aphrodisiac goodness. 
O.K., I still don't understand how or why these are aphrodisiacs, but, whatever. 
Let's start with what to buy. There are many different types of oysters, each having their own particular flavor and degree of brininess, due to the region in which they were harvested. You need to try several different types to ascertain what you like. 
Anyway, the only place to buy oysters is either at a reputable fish market, or at a gourmet grocer, like Whole Foods, that has excellent quality control and sells a lot of seafood, therefore has a lot of turnover, meaning fresher seafood. You really need to be careful with any raw shellfish. It must be alive and eaten ASAP. 
I buy my oysters at Whole Foods, since it is the only place in Colorado Springs that fresh fish comes in every day. And, there's no fishmonger here. Or seafood market. We are land locked.
I chose 6 "Pacific" and 6 "Atlantic" oysters, as they were the largest ones in the case. And they were on sale. For .89 cents a piece. Awesome. I liked both. I did not, however, like the oysters from Cape Cod. Too briny. Weird.


As soon as you get home, fill a big bowl with ice. Put the oysters on a thin cotton towel, and place it on the ice. Put it in the fridge. You don't want the oysters to be submerged in water. Or covered up in a plastic bag. This will kill them. Keep them cold, dry, and breathing air.

Before you ever start cleaning and shucking, get a few things in order. Either make (from scratch) a delicious cocktail sauce, (recipe at end of post), or put out your fave pre-made in a pretty dish.
 Put a serving platter in the freezer to chill out. I used a heavy metal bowl that stays really cold after freezing.

Crushed ice is great for presentation, as it keeps the oysters from turning over and spilling out their precious liquor, and keeps them nice and cold. 
I didn't have any, so I loaded up the food processor with a bunch of ice cubes and buzzed them up. Bravo! perfect crushed ice. You could also use a heavy duty blender.
 Lay the crushed ice down in your serving platter.
Slice up a fresh lemon into wedges.

Cocktail sauce: done. Check.
Ice in platter. Check. 
Lemons sliced. Check.
Now it's time to tackle the star of the day.

Give the oysters a good scrub under cold water. (They're really dirty). I didn't have a wire brush, so I used my mushroom brush. It worked just fine. Put them on a bed of ice to keep them cold.

Equipment you need: An oyster knife. I got this one, an OXO, at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $8.00, and used a 20% off coupon, so it was a steal. What's great about this knife is the size of the handle. It's big and offers a great, non-slip grip. Don't go off and use a regular knife or a screwdriver, unless you want to support your local E.R. and hand surgeon. Add a thick kitchen towel and you're ready to roll.
As there are plentiful sites that teach you how to shuck an oyster, I won't go into that here. Here's a tutorial link from another blogger that's really helpful:

O.K. Oysters are shucked! Here's the deal: Eat them within 20 minutes of shucking to avoid poisoning peril. (Remember the trip to the E.R.? Don't want that.)

Serve these beauties with a crisp glass of champagne for the start to a beautiful Valentine's day.

These oysters are HUGE! Much better and meatier than any we've gotten in a restaurant.


Zesty Cocktail Sauce:

It's so easy to make your own cocktail sauce, just the way you like it.  All you need is some ketchup, horseradish, hot sauce, worcestershire, and fresh lemon.
Put 1 cup Ketchup in a bowl.
Add 1 Tablespoon horseradish, or more, or less, depending on how hot you like it. I use about 4 Tbls, because I like it SPICY!
  Use this:

NOT THIS! One is horseradish, the other is horseradish sauce. Sauce is for beefy goodness. Not Oyster goodness. Luv ya, Ed, but this is not where you belong.
Add about 1 tablespoon each hot sauce and worcestershire sauce, and the juice of 1/2  a lemon. Season with Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Stir it up. Taste and adjust. 
Sauce done.


Ingredients:
Oysters
Ice
Cocktail Sauce
1 cup Ketchup
1 Tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon hot sauce
tablespoon worcestershire sauce

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About Me

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
I'm a home cook that can put some good tasting food on the table, most of the time. My family knows dinner is ready when the fire alarm goes off.