Friday, November 30, 2018

Chicken Webster


This is such an easy, quick and tasty dish to make for dinner; especially if you are short on time.  We named it after Lovey's best friend who made it for us one evening.  We also make this using cod.


In fact, this is such an easy recipe I am not going to write a 'formal' recipe below.


Crush up a couple handfuls of potato chips.  Whenever I get down to the bottom of a bag of chips that are mostly crumbles, I save them in a baggie.  Most times when I plan to make this dish I already have my potato chip crumbles ready to go.


Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt several Tbsp. of butter in a baking dish.  Pat dry boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (preferably without the rib meat, or that little tenderloin - it sometimes makes the breast a little too thick).

Coat both sides of the breasts in the butter.


 
Dredge both sides of each breast in the potato chips



Place the breasts back in the buttered baking dish and bake for 30 minutes.

That's it.  Dinner in no time at all.




Friday, November 23, 2018

Steak and Ale Pie


A rich, meaty, stick-to-your-ribs meal. I prefer this during the cold months.



Start with good quality boneless beef short ribs.


 
The rib meat is trimmed, cut up into bite-size pieces then tossed with a little water and baking soda


 
Onions are sliced and garlic is minced.


 
Render fat from a couple pieces of bacon.


 
Mushrooms are cleaned and trimmed then cooked down to about half their volume.


 
 Onions are added to the pot and cooked until tender and a fond begins to form on the bottom of the pot.

 
 Flour is added and cooked from 2 to 4 minutes allowing the fond to become very dark.


 The rest of the stock is added



Add the beef and bring to a simmer



Cover the pot with foil then place the lid on.  Now it goes into the oven for an hour.



Remove the lid and give the mixture a stir.  Allow the mixture to continue to cook until the sauce thickens, an additional 15 to 30 minutes longer.



Transfer the mixture to a deep dish pie plate



Roll out your pie dough to around 11", cut a vent hole in the center of the crust and drape over the meat mixture. Crimp and brush with egg. You can use your favorite recipe for pie crust or a Pillsbury refrigerated crust.



Place dish on a cookie sheet and bake until bubbly, around 25 to 30 minutes.


Allow pie to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.



Steak and Ale Pie
From the March/April 2017 issue of Cook's Illustrated
Serves 6


Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 lbs boneless beef short ribs, trimmed and but into 3/4" pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved if medium or quartered if large
1-1/2 cups beef broth, divided
1 large onion, halved through root and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup beer
pie crust for single crust pie

Method:
In a large mixing bowl, combine water and baking soda.  Add beef, salt and pepper and toss to combine.  Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over high heat, stirring occasionally, until partially rendered but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and 1/4 cup of the broth and stir to coat.  Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are reduced to about half their original volume, about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and thyme and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and fond begins to form on bottom of pot, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture and stir until all flour is moistened. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fond is deep brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in beer and remaining 1-1/4 cups broth, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in beef and bring to simmer, pressing as much beef as possible below surface of liquid. Cover pot tightly with aluminum foil, then lid, transfer to oven. Cook for 1 hour.

Remove lid and discard foil. Stir filling, cover, return to oven, and continue to cook until beef is tender and liquid is thick enough to coat beef, 15 to 30 minutes longer. Transfer filling to deep-dish pit plate. NOTE:  Once cool, filling can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.

Roll dough into 11-inch round. Using a knife or 1-inch round biscuit cutter, cut a round from center of dough. Drape dough over filling (it is OK if the filling is still hot). Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of plate. Tuck overhang under itself, folded edge should be flush with edge of plate. Crimp dough evenly around edge of plate using your fingers or press with tines of fork to seal. Brush crust with and egg wash. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet. Bake until filling is bubbling and crust is deep golden brown and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. NOTE:  if filling has been refrigerated, increase baking time by 15 minutes and cover with foil for last 15 minutes to prevent over browning. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.













































Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Bacon Latice Blanket


A certain turkey basting technique has been popping up in magazines and on the Internet and Lovey and I both have come across it lately.  Bacon is woven into a lattice-work 'blanket' then draped over the breast of the turkey. I made a rather tiny one since we had a small roasting chicken.  I used a high quality, thick-sliced smoked bacon.  The bacon we selected was very short slices but it worked for our chicken. Using normal sized slices will make your blanket larger for a turkey


 
I decided to try this new-to-me technique. 

Start by covering a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Begin 'weaving' by placing about 7 to 8 slices of bacon horizontally, sides touching, on the parchment paper.  

Starting with the top slice, from the left side fold the top slice back half way. Repeat with every other piece of bacon.  Now, lay a piece of bacon vertically against the left edge of the horizontal pieces.  Fold the horizontal pieces back over the vertical piece.  

Now, beginning with the horizontal second from the top, fold that back from the right edge over to the left.  Repeat this with every other horizontal piece under that slice. Place a vertical slice up against the first vertical slice.  Fold the horizontal pieces back over into their normal position.

Repeat this beginning with turning the top horizontal slice from right to left, and repeat with every other slice.  Tuck a vertical piece up against the previous slice, then fold the horizontal slices back to their normal position.

Repeat this process until you have a tightly woven blanket.




This is how our little blanket turned out.


I have also used it as a top to a quiche.  I baked the "blanket" before placing it on top of the quiche.

 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Peach Bourbon Upside Down Cake


Lovey likes to go through my magazines as they arrive and select a dessert for me to try.  This turned out to be a nice cake and a way to use some peaches I had that needed to be used before they went bad on me.


Like any upside down cake the fruit is placed in the bottom of the pan with a butter/sugar mixture then the batter is poured on top.  This is how the fruit looks when first turned out of the pan.






It's a dense cake, almost like a pound cake, so the light glaze was a nice compliment. 

 

 We ate most of it as a breakfast cake.


Peach Bourbon Upside Down Cake
From June 2018 issue of Southern Living
Serves 12

Ingredients: 
1-3/4 cups butter, softened, divided
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
4 peaches, peeled and cut into 4 slices
1 - 8 ounce pkg cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) bourbon
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk

Method:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in a small saucepan over medium, stir in 1/2 cup of the brown sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Pour mixture evenly into a 15-cup (10-1/2 inch) Bundt pan that has been heavily greased with cooking spray. Place peach slices in an even layer on top of brown sugar mixture.

Beat cream cheese and remaining 1-1/2 cups butter with a heavy-duty stand mixer on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add granulated sugar and remaining 1-1/2 cups  brown sugar, beating on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yolk disappears. Beat in 1 tsp. of the vanilla.

Sift together flour and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with bourbon, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter carefully over peaches in prepared pan; level with a spatula.

Bake in preheated oven until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 1 hour and 25 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack until pan is cool enough to handle but still hot, about 25 minutes. Remove cake from pan to rack, and cool completely, about 2 hours.

Stir together confectioner's sugar, remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and 1 Tbsp. of the milk in a small bowl, adding remaining 1 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp at a time, if needed to reach desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake. 





Monday, August 27, 2018

Party Potato Salad



I love this potato salad.  It's what I've eaten all my life; my mom always made it like this.  I only make it for parties and celebrations though.  This recipe will feed 15 - 20 people. This is always good for those holidays that call for picnic fare.  This upcoming Labor Day will probably be the last time I make this for the year.



The first thing you want to do is get your eggs and potatoes cooking.   They need to cool before you mix everything together so get these done first.

I cut the potatoes into cubes that are roughly 1 inch.  Carefully drop them in boiling water that has been salted with a good Tbsp. of salt.  You want your potatoes to come out mildly salted.


Once the water returns to a boil, lower heat and simmer until they are just fork tender. Start checking them after about 7 minutes and often after that. You don't want them to turn to mush.



Drain in a large colander.  I like to, lightly and politely, spray the drained potatoes with cold water.  Don't let the water come out of the sprayer at full force; your potatoes are tender now and you want them to retain their shape.  Let them stay in the colander to completely cool off.



Once your eggs are done, drain and re-fill pan with cold water and make an ice bath.


 
While the potatoes and eggs are cooking and cooling, dice up the rest of your ingredients.  I use Claussen Kosher Dills; the best in my opinion.  You will find these refrigerated, not shelved on the inside aisles.  I always buy the Sandwich Slices.  They are always ready to go on a burger or sandwich and when you use them in a recipe they're ready to be diced up.


My dice are between 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

Same with your red onion; dice between 1/4 and 1/2 inch.





Using the egg slicer is the quickest way to get these diced up.  Then you can take the knife to them to chop them up a little more.  It's a good practice, in salad or soups, to try to have all of your components close to the same size.


Pour your potatoes into a large bowl and add the pickles, onions and egg.



These will be adding the moisture to your salad.  When you add your moisture, start with the amounts recommended in the recipe and if you like more mayo, add it.  Or, if you like a little bit more of a bite from the mustard, add a little more.


Your hands are your best tools to mix up your potato salad without making mincemeat of your tender potatoes.  I always wear these.  These are my best friends.  You can scoop down and get big handfuls and gently fold everything in.  I simply can't do without these in my kitchen.


Cover your serving bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator over night.  It is important to have your salad cooled before wrapping it up, otherwise you'll get condensation dripping into your salad.

Party Potato Salad

Ingredients:
1 dozen eggs
5 pounds russet potatoes

1 red onion, medium sized
1 - 12 ounce jar Claussen Kosher Dills - Sandwich Slices
1/2 cup pickle juice
1/2 cup Hellmann's or Best Foods Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. classic yellow mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

 Method:
Boil, cool and peel eggs.

Peel potatoes and cut into 1 to 1-1/2" pieces.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the potatoes.  When water returns to a boil reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are just fork tender.  Check after 7 minutes for doneness.  You don't want the potatoes to become mushy. Drain the potatoes into a large colander and lightly rinse with cold water.

As the potatoes are cooling chop eggs, onion and pickles into 1/4" to 1/2" dice. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl combine the pickle juice, Hellmann's and mustard.

When potatoes are cooled, place in a large mixing bowl and gently fold in the onion, pickles and eggs until just combined.  Preferably with your hands, gently mix in your mayonnaise mixture.  Make any additions (mayonnaise, pickle juice, mustard) to your liking and salt and pepper to taste.  

When the potato salad is completely cooled, cover with plastice wrap and refrigerate until very cold. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Cleaning Up an Old Le Creuset Dutch Oven




I found this little gem at an estate sale.  It's an older 1 quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven.  You can tell it is older by the handle on the lid. 


Newer lids have the black handle



 
The older Dutch ovens were marked on the bottom of the pots and the undersides of the lids as to what size they were.  "A" indicates this is a 1 quart.



 I bought it for only $11 but it was really nasty on the inside.  Nasty dirty, but there were no huge chunks out of the bottom. Since it was so cheap I thought I'd buy it and try to get it back to a usable state.




First order of business was getting off the "old nasty". I soaked it in hot sudsy water; I use Dawn dish washing soap.


Then gave it a good scrub. This is a good scrub pad to use on your enameled cast iron.  You don't want to use an SOS - type product or abrasive cleaners.


This was the next step.  I poured several inches of Hydrogen Peroxide into the pot and 1 Tbsp. of baking soda.  



I brought it to a boil then lowered the heat, put the lid on and simmered for 15 minutes.  I let the mixture cool down and then used the Dobie pad to really scrub the inside.  I used a good amount of elbow grease on the grimey parts.


This is how it turned out.  Not bad.  Got the sticky gunk out of it but it still was not as clean as I would want in order for me to cook in it.


 The final step was a good soak in OxiClean.


Four cups water and a half scoop of the powder (scoop comes with the OxiClean) .  Stir around every once in a while to dissolve and let sit for about 6 hours on the counter top.


After one more cleaning in hot sudsy water here is what I have!  All ready to use! Now there is no reason to spend $140.00 on a new one (smiling to myself)