Friday, February 27, 2009

Spice up your life--- Kiss your Donkey or make Texas Pot Pie

Kelly Mooches Ezekiel and it is hard to tell who likes it more. Back to the recipe...
Either way, you cannot go wrong. As I made this dish, I was thinking about making it with mashed potatoes spread over the meat mixture instead of the cornbread. I'll try that next. I love the homemade Taco seasoning. You end up with more than recipe calls for, so you have it for next time or another use.

Texas Pot Pie
1 lb ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 1/3 cups chopped green peppers
1 medium chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup mild chunky salsa
1 cup frozen corn kernels
(1 1/4 ounce) homemade Taco seasoning or one envelope taco seasoning mix
1/2 cup cheddar cheese

garnish: cilantro, sour cream, chopped green onion, pickled jalapenos

Brown the ground beef, bell pepper, onion,cumin, taco seasoning and garlic together. Drain any accumulated liquid. Add salsa and corn. Spoon into an 8x8 inch pan. Spoon cornbread onto casserole and bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Test for done-ness with a toothpick. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese, return to oven for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve with chopped Cilantro and sour cream.

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1-2 Jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped fine (optional)

Mix together until just blended.

Home made taco seasoning from Eating Etc.
2T chili powder
1/2tsp garlic powder
1/2tsp onion powder
1/2tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2tsp dried oregano
1tsp paprika
1T ground cumin
1tsp salt
2tsp ground black pepper
1) Mix all ingredients together and store in a spice jar or other airtight
Read more!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just in time, a recipe to help celebrate Mardi Gras and the party pup, OSKAR is ready to get you in the mood

                                                         Artist Michael Osterhout


Even if you are not heading to N'Oleans to party with the masses, you can feed a slew of people with this gumbo and you will have a party in your mouth. You can even make your own creole seasoning. The seasoning recipe nets about four cups, keeps indefinitely, and is nice to have around. If you are a party of one, you'll have plenty of gumbo to freeze.  Heck, you could even open a small, intimate cafe.  Allow yourself plenty of time to make your roux, you will be happy with the results.

Gumbo Ya Ya (from Birmingham News)

1 lb. unsalted butter
3 cups all purpose flour
2 red peppers, medium dice
2 green peppers, medium dice
2 medium onions, medium dice
2 celery stalks, medium dice
1 1/4 gallons (20 cups) chicken stock
2 tablespoons creole seasoning
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 lb. andouille sausage, cut in 1/4 inch slices
3 1/2 lb. chicken, roasted and boned
Hot sauce to taste

Boiled rice

In a 12 quart stock pot, melt butter and add 1/3 of the flour, stir constantly for 30 seconds. Add 1/3 more flour, stir constantly for 30 seconds, add the remaining 1/3 flour. 
Continue to cook until dark mahogany, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir and adjust temp to avoid burning the roux. Then add the peppers, onions, and celery. Add stock, stirring constantly. Add all remaining ingredients except chicken, rice, and hot sauce and bring to a boil. Simmer uncovered 45 minutes, skimming off the fat. Add chicken and simmer 15 minutes. Adjust seasonings with hot sauce. Serve over rice.

Creole Seasoning (from Birmingham News)

1 1/2 cup Paprika
3/4 cup ground black pepper
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/3 cup granulated garlic
1/3 cup dried thyme
1/3 cup dried oregano
1/3 cup dried basil
1/4 cup granulated onion
1/4 cup cayenne

Combine, store in an airtight container
Makes about 4 cups

And if you want to veer off Gumbo and go a different route, try this Shrimp recipe.  It is devine:

Barbecue Shrimp (adapted from Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook)

12 raw colossal (or the largest you can find) Gulf shrimp, unpeeled with heads and tails left on
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic (2 cloves)
1 tablespoon of water
half of 1 lemon, seeded
1/4 pound (1 stick) of unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch slices

1. Place the unpeeled shrimp, Worcestershire, spices, garlic and 1 tablespoon of water in a heavy 10-inch sautee pan. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half over the shrimp and add rind and pulp to the pan.
2. Over high heat, cook the shrimp while gently stirring and occasionally turning the shrimp.
After about two minutes of cooking, the shrimp should start turning pink on both sides, indicating they are nearly half cooked.
3. If the shrimp are the colossal size, now add 2 tablespoons water to the pan. Otherwise, don’t add water.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue cooking as you gradually add the cold pieces of butter to the pan. While stirring the shrimp, swirl the butter pieces until they are incorporated into the pan juices, the sauce turns light brown and creamy as it simmers, and the shrimp are just cooked through. This will take about two minutes total if the shrimp are extra-large and about three minutes if they are colossal.
5. Serve immediately with crusty bread for sopping up the sauce and lots of napkins for cleaning your hands. Makes two servings.
Note: If you can’t find shrimp with the heads on, still be sure and use unpeeled shrimp.
Read more!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Restorative powers of juicy chicken


Used as a mood elevator, used as a flu or cold fighter, used as a quick prep, low and slow nose teaser. If you are hanging around home for a couple of hours, this is the recipe for you. It comes to the table so juicy and moist and healthy. I feel better already! You gotta try this:

French Chicken in a Pot
America’s Test Kitchen-Best Recipes 2009

1 (4 1/2 pound ) roasting chicken, giblets discarded
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 celery rib, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 medium fresh rosemary sprig
1/2- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven 250 degrees, with the rack to the lowest position
Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a dutch oven until shimmering. Place chicken breast side down. Scatter onion, garlic, celery, bay leaf and rosemary around the chicken. Brown lightly, about 5 minutes, flip chicken onto its’ back and continue to brown about 5-6 minutes longer. Off heat, cover the pot with a large sheet of aluminum foil, then place a tight fitting lid over the foil. Transfer the pot to the lower rack in the oven and bake until instant read thermometer registers 160 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast and 175 degrees inserted into the thickest part of the thigh. Cook time is between 80 and 110 minutes. After removing chicken from pot, tent it for 20 minutes with foil and let rest. Strain the accumulated juices, separating the fat. Place juices in a saucepan, heat over medium heat, add lemon juice to the sauce and serve with the carved chicken. Read more!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

yup, it's still soup time, or I think I am related to the famous groundhog!

I always associate hominy with grammar school. The school cafeteria served canned hominy almost every week. It must have been a free commodity in Alabama as often as it was pushed on innocent children in the public school system. I hated it then and can't really say I have given it any favorable thoughts in my entire life. It was so bland, pale, and semi mushy. I think it was the preparation, af-te-r-all, because now comes an exciting, (to the older tastebuds and the older eyes) newer, outlook and love for the dreaded hominy. Courtesy of my child, who was THE pickiest of all eaters. Thank you Kelly!

By the way, grits, hominy and polenta are all corn products

Chicken and Hominy Soup
Bon Appetit Feb. 2007

yield: Makes 8 main-course servings
active time: 20 minutes
total time: 35 minutes
This easy main-course soup is great on its own or with toppings, such as tortilla chips, avocado, and sour cream.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 bunches green onions, sliced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
10 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite tomatoes in juice
1 purchased roast chicken, meat shredded, skin and bones discarded
4 teaspoons hot pepper sauce
3 (15-ounce) cans golden or white hominy in juice
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add green onions, cumin, and paprika; sauté 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes with juice, chicken, and hot pepper sauce. Puree hominy with juice in processor or blender. Mix into soup; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Ladle soup into bowls.

More Soup:

My all-time favorite Chicken Wild Rice Soup (borrowed from Busy Nothings)

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
10 oz cooked and cubed chicken or turkey
4 1/2 oz pakcage quick cooking, long grain and wild rice with seasonings (or the closest size
1/2 tsp salt, optional,none needed
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half
In a large pot over high heat, combine broth and water. When it comes to a boil, stir in the rice,
reserving the seasoning packet. cover and remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt
butter. Stir in the contents of the seasoning packet and cook until mixture is bubbly. Reduce
heat to low and then stir in flour mixture to form a roux. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring
constantly. Whisk in the half and half, a little at a time until fully incorporated and smooth.
Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15
mintues. Add chicken or turkey. Taste and adjust any seasonings. I have never had to add more seasoning. Serve.

from: A Cook from Boston, Ma. who responded on a more inferior recipe. She related the following: "I'm 34 and have been making this since I could stand up on the stool in my Yia Yia's kitchen (my grandmother who is now 80 years old)" I say it is out of this world! She said you'd be hooked for life and that is in fact the truth!

Soupa Avgolemono: 8 c. homemade chix stock, 1 c. orzo, 4 eggs/ separated, juice of 3 lemons, fresh ground black pepper. This recipe will make a perfectly balanced salty, rich, filling, comforting soup. Boil broth, add orzo and simmer until tender 20 min. Whip whites until medium peaks, add yolks beating continuously, add juice, beating. Temper eggs with 2 c. broth, adding in constant slow stream while continuing to beat furiously so you do not curdle the eggs. Add egg mixture back to remaining broth and serve. When reheating, do not re-boil - heat slowly until very warm or you may curdle the eggs. Garnish with thinly sliced lemon. I sometimes add more than juice of 3 lemons, as the sourness is the best part of the taste! You should taste lemon, richness of eggs, salt of chicken, and starch of rice, in that order and you've made it perfectly. You can also add thin pieces of shredded chicken meat (pull off bone in strips), although classic recipes don't include chicken, vegetables, garlic or any of the ingredients many reviewers added to "fix" this recipe. Try mine and you'll be hooked for life!


And one more-----

Tomato Soup with Red Onion and Cilantro Stems
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living, April 1995 , as posted by the very talented Orangette

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium red onion, diced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
½ tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup cilantro stems, cut into ½-inch lengths
½ of a jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes (Muir Glenn)
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
Sour cream, for serving
Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions
and garlic, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 to 7
minutes. Add the salt, pepper, cilantro stems, and jalapeño, and stir well.
Strain the tomatoes, and add the juice to the saucepan. Then seed the
tomatoes, chop them coarsely, and add them to the pan as well. Add 2
cups water, and stir to combine. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the lime
juice. Then taste, and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Read more!

When will Spring arrive?

I am more than ready. We have had enough warm weather to trick the grass into turning green, and to tease the delicate buds into erupting on the trees and shrubs then wham! Freeze warnings last night meant hauling tender plants back into the shelter of the porch, and covering the landscape with frostblankets. I hope there has not been too much damage. At least we can be thankful for crisp blue skies. I like the climate now in the daytime and just think of the vitamin D you can get from 15 minutes of sunshine. While we are on the subject of vitamins, we may as well throw in some fiber (14g), some calcium (4%), some iron (15%) some protein (7grams), a few carbs (22 grams) all found in a quarter cup serving of dried Pinto Beans. That is a great way to gather so much goodness for so little money. If you have a pressure cooker, it is a quick way to gather that goodness. You can have those babies on the table in about thirty minutes. While they are hissing away on the stovetop, you can bake a corn pone in a cast iron skillet, or if you are up for something a little more spicy, opt for the Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread below. Either way, you can't go wrong. Country goodness.

Speedy Pinto Beans Under Pressure

1 1/2 lbs. Dried Beans, rinsed and picked over for foreign matter or blemished beans
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
Water to cover two inches above the beans
ham hock, jowl bacon, or smoked neck bones

Assemble ingredients in the pressure cooker, lock lid, and on medium high heat, bring pressure to high. Adjust stovetop to a lower setting but still keeping a steady steam aka hissing noise. Cook under pressure for twenty-five minutes. Remove pan from heat and use the quick release method of running cold water over the locked lid, until you no longer hear steam and the safety valve has dropped. Unlock lid. Taste for doneness. Adjust seasoning. If not done, bring back up to pressure and cook an additional five minutes. Any dried beans may be prepared this way. You may have to adjust your cooking time slightly.

Cornbread, or Mexican Cornbread makes these beans even better. Serve as a side dish or main course.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
Recipe by Barefoot Contessa
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish,
3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers
Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large
bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a
wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the
lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated
Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at
room temperature for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-
inch baking pan.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with
the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30
to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into
large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. Read more!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I tried it and liked it, Mom tried it and liked it, Ms. Vi, you have a winner. YOU ARE A WINNER!

This recipe could not be easier. It only has a handful of ingredients. Assemble those few ingredients in a slow cooker and "set it and forget it". Southern comfort mmmmmm
Thanks Ms. Vi for sharing this one! Our Ms. Vi is quite remarkable. She is an octogenarian, still works as a receptionist and is an inspiration to all who know her.

1 10-3/4OZ CAN CREAM SOUP (your choice)
1/3 C. Milk
1 package Stove Top Stuffing Mix
1-2/3 C. water
Place chicken in slow cooker
Combine can soup and milk, pour over chicken
Combine stuffing and water, spoon over all and cook
on low 6-8 hours Read more!

What were they looking at, birds, planes, flying cows?---

Mariam and Buck are onto what was coming at all of them----it was flying Oskar!  When he visits the farm, he rules.  All six pounds of him.  He really is a big guy who brings a lot of energy and fun for us all.  If you double click on his photo, you can see how hugh he is.  David observed that Mariam didn't even flinch---neither did Buck. 

The recipe I am providing is awesome, and needs to be eaten while hot.  It is outstanding.  



4 cups water
1 cup grits
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tablespoons butter (I omit)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese (4 oz)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (2oz)
Freshly ground white pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg (I only use a pinch of cayenne)

6 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
Peanut oil for frying (Canola works for me)
1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined if desired, rinsed and patted dry
2 cups wiped clean and sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced scallions
1 lg clove garlic, crushed
4 tsp. Fresh lemon juice
Hot red pepper sauce to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

serves 4

grits: bring water to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Slowly stir in grits, reduce heat, cook stirring frequently for about 20 min., or until they are thick and tender. Stir in the salt, butter and cheeses. Add a pinch each of white pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg, or to taste

shrimp: in a large skillet cook the bacon until browned at the edges. Remove and drain on paper towels, and set aside.

Add enough peanut oil to the bacon fat to make a thin layer of fat. Heat over medium-high heat until the fat is quite hot. Add the shrimp and stir, then add the mushrooms and stir well. Cook til the shrimp starts to color, then add the scallions, bacon and garlic. Season with the lemon juice, hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with the parsley.
Divide the grits among four warm plates. Spoon the shrimp over the grits and serve immediately.

Note: use fresh stone ground grits if available
Source: Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking Read more!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ta Da--finally - recipes of deliciousness from Kelly

Kelly loves Indian food and has mastered Tikka Masala. She and David eat it often. Look at the  beautiful photos they also provided. David usually makes homemade Naan, and they also serve Dal with this meal. What a meal!

2 lb chicken (boneless/skinless) breast, sliced and seared but not cooked
8 T ghee (we use half ghee, half oil)
4 onions, sliced
2" piece of ginger, grated fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1" stick cinnamon
12 cardamoms
4 tsp garam masala
4 tsp coriander, ground
2 tsp chili powder
2.5 c cream (we use 3/4 c light cream and the rest milk)
4 T tomato paste
8 T water
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 lime

1) heat ghee, onions, ginger, and garlic gently until soften but not colored 5-10 minutes
2) add all spices and fry mixture 2-5 minutes
3) add cream, tomato paste, water, sugar, and salt, mixing and bring to a boil
4) reduce heat, add chicken and cook until meat is cooked
5) squeeze in lime juice, stir and serve

this is my favorite, best mashed potatoes you could ever want. this is excellent with the spinach/tomatoes
4 T oil
6 cloves
6 cardamoms
1" stick cinnamon
1 onion, sliced
1" piece ginger, grated or sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1-3 birds eye chili
1/2 tsp garam masala
1.33 c lentils, pink/red
1 tsp (scant) salt

1) heat cloves, cardamoms, and cinnamon in oil, 3 minutes
2) add onion and cook until translucent
3) add ginger, garlic, chilies, and garam masala, cook 5 minutes
4) add lentils and cook 2-5 minutes
5) cover with water @1.25" above lentils, bring to a boil, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until it is a thick and tender mash
6) sprinkle with lemon juice (i haven't tried the lemon juice yet)

Bonus recipes:

1lb spinach leaves (baby or cut in halves)
3/8c ghee (we use mostly oil and 2T ghee)
1 onion
1/2-1 lb mushrooms, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2" piece ginger, grated fine
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper ground
1 14.5o can of diced tomatoes

1) heat garlic and onions in ghee until golden and soft
2) saute mushrooms until dry
3) add ginger and cook 6 minutes
3) add spices and cook 2 minutes
4) toss in spinach and coat until wilted
5) add can of tomatoes and bring to a boil, stirring
6) simmer until cooked to your liking

this is david's favorite, full of fiber. when 
Indians fast, they eat this, so I can see now how they can "fast" so often... they eat this for
breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Ayurveda retreats, when ill, etc. they consider this in Ayurveda the perfect food...
1 cup basmati (we use brown basmati)
1.33 cup moong dal (split yellow chick peas, NOT split yellow peas)
5 T ghee (we use 2T ghee, 2T oil)
1 garlic clove, minced
5 cloves
5 cardamoms
2" stick cinnamon
1 onion
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt

1) soak rice and lentils 1 hour, drain
2) in ghee, heat spices for 2 minutes
3) add onion and garlic and cook 3-5 minutes
4) add rice and lentils, cook 3-5 minutes
5) add enough boiling water to cover rice/lentils 1", cover and simmer 30-50 minutes until liquid is absorbed and rice is cooked (we use a rice
Read more!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Warnings come with this posted recipe

The warnings on the Everclear label: Caution!! Extremely flammable, Handle with care
Warning!! Overconsumption may endanger your health
They are only the beginnings of the warnings. The recipe that is about to be revealed has its' own warnings: Habit forming, may cause a statewide lemon shortage,may create an abundance of naked lemons,may lead to making other recipes calling for lemon juice, use only in small doses,er, glasses, may temporarily take up freezer space, so delicious may cause over consumption, may cause lingering or loitering on the porch on hot summer days/nights, yum.

Crema De Limoncello

10 Meyer lemons
1 (750-ml) bottle Everclear
8 1/2 cups of milk
5 cups of sugar (I used 3 on my last batch)(next time I'll try two cups)
1/2 cup of vanilla sugar (put a vanilla bean, split, in a jar of sugar and let sit for 2 weeks) Or use one packet Dr. Oetker Vanilla Sugar
Cheesecloth (optional)

Zest the lemons using a Micro-plane grater or another similar tool that also produce a very fine zest. Place in a jar with the Everclear and leave at room temperature for 1 week. Strain using the cheesecloth.
In a saucepan, warm the milk over medium heat. Add the sugar and the vanilla sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. In a large bowl or pitcher, combine the Everclear mixture with the cooled milk mixture , funnel into bottles, preferably with wide mouths and store in the freezer for up to six months. Serve neat in a chilled tumbler or martini glass. Depending on the proof of the Everclear, the drink will slushy or just very cold. Vodka may be substituted for the Everclear. Read more!

Squash Pickles---Who wants this recipe?

I do! I do! As soon as I can get my hands on the recipe, I will post it here. They are delicious, not too hot, not too sweet, jussssst right! Tom Jeffers is a co-worker and friend who shares my interest in all the important things: grand-babies, family, cooking, growing veggies, just to name a few. Okay Tom, if you are reading this, give up the recipe-----now!
He did! He did! Here it is:

SQUASH PICKLES (adapted from an old Southern Living cookbook)

1/2 cup salt
3 quarts water
6 cups thinly sliced yellow squash
2 cups Kirby cucumber thin slices
2 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
2 tsp. mustard seeds
2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
2 red or green peppers thinly sliced (Tom uses Cubanelles when he can find them)
1 (4 oz.) jar sliced pimiento, drained
Hot peppers, small,and left whole are entirely optional, quantity depends on your taste and how hot you like your pickles

Dissolve salt in 3 quarts water in large bowl; add squash. Submerge squash in water, using a plate to hold slices down; cover and let stand 3 hours. Drain and set aside.
Bring sugar, vinegar, and mustard seeds to a boil in a large non-aluminum stockpot, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add squash, onion, pepper, and remaining veggies to pot; return to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool. Store in airtight containers in refrigerator up to two weeks. Yield 2 quarts Read more!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I'm back, did anybody miss me?

Maybe not, except for Gene, Max, Rose, Buck and all of the other two and four legged creatures who get fed at the Ironhorse Farm. Mind you, Gene does all of the feeding, but I feed Gene, so I guess I have some importance around the place. I have been to see my Mom, Jake, Kelly and David. They all live close to each other in suburbs of Birmingham, in Shelby County Alabama. I had a great trip. My intent was to nurture my family, but they reversed roles and I came home nurtured too. Family works like that. I drove almost five hundred miles, alone, but not really. You see I took my cell phone, my link to the world, and my IPOD, my link to sanity and to the music world. My drive in both directions was a treat. My eyes were lenses, if only they had been cameras, I would have more to show you.  I only took a few real photos on the way home.  My photos do not do the rural countryside of Georgia justice. Red clay roads abound.  Dignified, unpainted barns and houses make me wish I could hear all of their stories.  The remnants of cotton crops already harvested lying in fields, and groves of pecan trees tell the tale of making a living.  The people in this area of Georgia look like they have always lived within their means.  Looks may be deceiving, but I hope not.
It has taken me a couple of days to cycle through doing not much in the kitchen arena but I am semi ready to get started again.  I had frozen my version of Ina Gartin's Chicken Stew(no pearl onions, added mushrooms instead) and I am planning to embelish it with a batter that I have used on an older recipe for Chicken Pot Pie.  Then after we eat I want to make Nigella's Granola.  I was excited to find the Brown Rice Syrup the recipe calls for  at the Whole Foods in B'ham.

Chicken Stew with Biscuits
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on (if in hurry, use rotisserie chicken from grocery store)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock
2 chicken bouillon cubes or 4 teaspoons Chicken Soup Base
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (I reduced this to only 1/2 stick and it turned out terrific.)
2 onions chopped
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups carrots diced
2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup fresh parsley
2 potatoes, peeled, and cubed
Sliced mushrooms (I added because we like them)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with
salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside and cool
enough to handle, then remove them from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken
into large dice. You should have 4-6 cups of cubed chicken.
In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a
large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to
15 minutes, or until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for
2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute,
stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add carrots and potatoes, simmer over medium-low for 15 minutes or until tender. Add the
chicken, peas, and parsley. Mix well.
This is where I stopped with Ina’s recipe. The night I made this, I divided the total into two casserole dishes, topping one dish with "ready to bake" store bought frozen biscuits, plopped them on the stew and followed the recommended temp and cooking time on the package. The second casserole I did not top with anything and covered it with plastic wrap and froze for a later time.    I defrosted my saved stew overnight in the fridge and topped it with the batter (recipe below) and it was delish!

Biscuit Batter Topping
1 1/4 cup self rising flour
1 tsp salt (optional) 
1 1/4 cup buttermilk, mixed with 1 tsp. baking soda 
1 stick butter, melted
dash pepper

Mix the flour, buttermilk, salt and pepper together to make the batter.
Spread onto the stew and pour the melted butter over all and take a fork and poke at it to distribute the butter.
bake at   for 425 for 50 minutes. *note; Next time I will heat the stew for 20 minutes prior to adding the biscuit batter topping and then spread to batter and bake.

Nigella's Granola adapted from Feast

Dry ingredients:
5 cups rolled oats
2 to 3 cups raw almonds or pecan halves, or a mixture
1 cup hulled raw sunflower seeds
¾ cup sesame seeds
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
Wet ingredients:
¾ cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
¼ cup honey
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower

Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir to mix well. In a small
bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Stir to mix well. Pour the wet
ingredients over the dry ones, and stir well.
Spread the mixture evenly on two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 35 to 40
minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Set a timer to go off every ten minutes
while the granola bakes, so you can rotate the pans and give the granola a good
stir; this helps it to cook evenly. When it’s ready, remove the pans from the
oven, stir well – this will keep it from cooling into a hard, solid sheet – and set
aside to cool. The finished granola may still feel slightly soft when it comes out
of the oven, but it will crisp as it cools.
Scoop cooled granola into to a large zipper-lock plastic bag or other airtight
container. Store in the refrigerator indefinitely.
Yield: about 10 cups

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