Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey terrific and kraut with attitude

I invited my sister-in-law to guest post today. She put such a startlingly good meal on the table this past Thursday that it seems it should be shared, if only to generate enthusiasm. The rest of this will be in her words. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that these two preparations came from "Joy of Cooking." Have a look, then look away until next November!!! LOL
Susan speaks:

For the turkey, I followed the Joy of Cooking recipe for Roasted Brined Turkey, although I didn’t brine it. I filled the cavity with one onion, one stalk celery, and one carrot, cut up, and eight sprigs of fresh thyme. Didn’t truss the turkey, because it was still on the cold side when it went in oven, and I wanted more surface to be exposed to heat. Turkey weighed 13.85 lbs. Placed turkey breast side down on v rack, brushed with melted butter and roasted in convection oven at 325 for 2 hours, then turned it breast side up and brushed with more butter. Put thermometer probe in thigh and roasted until internal temp reached 168, about 1 1/2 hours more, basting several times with pan juices. Then took it out and let it rest for about 20 min.
For the sauerkraut, I used Joy of Cooking’s recipe for Alsatian Sauerkraut:
Heat 2T butter, bacon fat, or veg oil in a large ovenproof skillet (I used butter).
Saute until translucent 1/2 cup sliced onions or shallots (I used onions).
Add and cook for about 5 min. 2 lbs. deli-case sauerkraut, drained.
Stir in one med. tart apple, peeled and grated (I used Granny Smith) and 1 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds (I used one).
Cover with boiling beef or veg stock or water (I used Swanson beef broth) and 1/4 cup dry white wine (which I omitted).
Cook uncovered for 30 min.
Cover and bake in 325 degree oven for about 30 min.
If desired, season with 1 to 2 T. brown sugar (which I skipped).
I made this the day before, put it in a small Corning Ware casserole dish, and reheated it in the microwave for Thanksgiving dinner.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Ooh la lasagna

I thought about lasagna all summer, but it's not really a warm weather dish. I've got news for you: this is lasagna weather here in DC. The “Super Committee” of our household (Peter and yours truly) determined that now was the time. I did not follow a recipe. If you know my cooking at all, you know I work by the seat of my pants (and it's hard to get that tomato sauce out of your jeans). Some folks like to use Italian sausage. I do too. But in this case I found a 1 lb package of 80/20 ground beef at Safeway on sale. An aside: I do not buy ground beef if I am making burgers; the ecoli problem is rare but real, and I like my burgers on the rare side. Here it comes.

Ooh la lasagna
1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb ground beef (fat content is your choice)
1 medium onion chopped fairly fine
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
28 oz crushed tomatoes
15 oz tomato sauce
2 heaping Tbs tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 box no boil lasagna noodles
15 oz ricotta (I used whole milk)
1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
½ cup grated parmesan

Large saute pan. Olive oil. Start browning the beef. Add onion and garlic. When beef is brown, add tomatoes and paste, seasonings.

Simmer sauce 30 minutes and then allow to cool. Layer in 13 by 9 inch casserole: sauce, noodles, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. Repeat til everything has been included. Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 50 minutes (we have a convection oven – regular oven might be 60 minutes). Remove foil. Add parmesan. Bake another 10 minutes. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beans and dogs

This could probably not be easier. I am not known for “few” ingredient cooking. But, lookee here, even an old dog can learn a trick or two. This batch made for several lunches for Peter and me. It's tasty, especially with some Louisiana hot sauce (or another brand if that's your druthers). You might notice I do not call for salt. Use some if you wish.
Beans and dogs
½ medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans beans, rinsed
1 cup chicken broth, or more to taste
5 hotdogs cut into ½ inch pieces
hot sauce to taste (optional)
Saute the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the beans, hotdogs and the broth and simmer uncovered until desired thickness is achieved (it can be wet without any problem). Add the hotdogs. Season with hot sauce (if using). Serve over rice or couscous or orzo.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The art of artichokes

My title implies that I'm offering a be-all-and-end-all recipe. It's not true. I just wanted a snappy phrase. I have made several versions of artichoke heart preparations. I do not use fresh artichokes. I cannot bear the thought of cleaning them up. Canned in oil are never an option. Canned in water are acceptable, but frozen are my choice. They are a good product. I made this in the hope of pleasing my sister-in-law and brother-in-law at Thanksgiving dinner. I've done several different versions of this and settled on something fairly new this time. This is my test version.

Braised artichoke hearts with lemon

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp butter

½ medium lemon, sliced thin

1 lb. frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

pinch each of salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes

2 Tbs chicken stock

Heat the oil and butter in a saute pan

Add the lemon slices and saute for 5-6 minutes until softened. Remove them to a bowl and set aside.

Add the artichokes and seasonings. Add the chicken stock. Let the broth simmer until it evaporates. Add a tiny bit more butter if it seems necessary. Saute the hearts until they begin to brown. Flip them over and get a little brown on the other side. Add the lemon back in and heat.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bell peppered chicken

Spatchcock a whole bird. Brine it for 3-4 hours. Rinse, dry, brown in butter and oil (skin side) for 8 minutes. Use pepper, ancho chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, any or all of the above. Turn skin side up and season again. Layer wilted pieces of bell pepper (20 minutes in a 400 oven) over the top and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until juices run clear. You will not be sorry you did this.

Wish I had a better picture. It was quite beautiful with the red and green peppers on top.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Creamed smoked corn

Here is an invention. It came to me early in the morning. I had been thinking off and on about smoking in my wok for the last week or so. Let's face it, we're no longer in fresh corn season. Peter sticks his nose up at corn on the cob from the supermarket in the fall or winter. But I was determined that I could fool him into liking something if he didn't know how it was made.
The best off-season corn is frozen kernels. For this, however, I decided that frozen corn on the cob was the way to go. The frozen corn kernels by themselves are pretty wet.

Here's a quick primer on my wok-smoking technique. Line the wok with two layers of foil. Soak a handful of wood chips in water for 30 minutes. I use a bamboo steamer basket. You'll have to use whatever you can figure out. Get the wood chips smoking and put the ears of corn into the basket. Cover and smoke for 20 minutes.
Creamed smoked corn
4 ears frozen corn on the cob
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
Let the corn thaw and then smoke it in the wok for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and then slice the kernels from the cobs. Place in a sauce pan and add the cumin, salt and pepper, cream and butter. Heat on medium low stirring to blend the ingredients. Taste and determine both for seasoning and to be sure the corn is cooked through.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Oh my gosh, CHICKEN LIVERS two ways - run for the hills

I am reorganizing this post to feature the chicken liver pate at the top. I want folks to see it because it is the finest version of this I have ever made.
Chicken liver pate
10 oz cooked (as below) chicken livers, chopped
1/4 cup half-and-half
generous pinch of red pepper flakes
2 generous Tbs mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste
Put all this into the food processor and puree. Serve on various vehicles such as crackers, toast, or freshly baked biscuits.

Above are two different views of these magical little bits of wonder. It's been quite a while since I've made them. Maybe as much as several years. There's no explaining it, especially because Peter and I love them so much. My technique is about as simple as anything could be. I've struggled lately with learning to simplify recipes – fewer ingredients, fewer steps involved, etc. In this case I am entirely successful. The container I bought contained 1 ¼ lb of livers, more than we would eat at one sitting. However, I cooked them all up and made pate out of the leftovers. I am such a star!
Chicken livers in flour and paprika
12 oz chicken livers
salt and pepper to taste
flour for dredging
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs butter
Take a pair of kitchen shears and trim the funky bits from the livers. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Dredge them in equal amounts of flour and paprika. Shaking them up in a paper bag works well.

Heat the oil and butter until very hot (the butter should be ready to start turning brown). Drop in the livers. 2 minutes later flip them over for another 2 minutes. You are done.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicken and biscuits

Here's something I thought about off and on for quite some time. It's not a summer recipe, so I had to table it until nice fall weather came along. Well, it's here.
Chicken and biscuits
1 package refrigerated biscuits
12 oz. cooked chicken in bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Celery salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1-2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs half-and-half
1 cup frozen edamame
1 cup frozen small whole onions

Bake the biscuits according to their directions.
Whisk the flour into some water to avoid lumps. Heat broth to a simmer. Add onions and edamame and simmer 5 minutes. Add celery salt and pepper. Add flour slurry. Add butter. Add chicken and heat through. Serve over the biscuits in heated bowls.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Second Son of Slaw

This is a warm concoction. It nudged my consciousness this morning at about 9:30 am (EDT). By the way, do you hate having to get up in pitch dark as much as I do? I can hardly wait for the time to change this weekend. Here's a pretty simple recipe. We've been buying cabbages because we like cabbage and it is relatively cheap. I learned from Rachael Ray the melt anchovy in your cooking oil technique. It really works. I will resist saying, “Yummo.” Uh-oh, I guess I just failed that test. The quantities of ingredients I used are very modest. Frankly I think you could double them if you like lots of flavor. When I do this again, that is what I will do.

The Second Son of Slaw
3 Tbs olive oil
2 anchovies
¼ head of cabbage, sliced very thin
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
Pinch red pepper flakes
½ tsp ground caraway seeds
Heat the oil. Melt the anchovies into the oil.
Add the cabbage and toss to coat. Continue tossing for about 3 minutes.
Add broth, vinegar, mustard, pepper flakes and caraway. Cook uncovered until the cabbage is tender but al dente, maybe 6 minutes, maybe 8 minutes? Pull it off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes. You can combine this with anything for which you would use sauerkraut or more traditional coleslaw.

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