Thursday, December 31, 2009

January 6th?!

That is the day my shipment from Amazon is due to arrive. I ordered it on Christmas for Pete's sake! 12 days?! Seriously 12 days?! I think it would have arrived via pony express in less than that. Ah well, we will have to explore other avenues. For right now, my refrigerator can't fit any more food into it. The brined chicken was super. I brushed the skin with some diluted honey while it was roasting away which resulted in a scrumptious slightly sweet crunch to the skin.
Yesterday I purchased another used sewing machine. I might have what one would consider a slight problem. This makes my 5th sewing machine (but only if you count the serger). The problem was, it was such a good deal. It is in excellent condition and was only $50. And it is always great to have a back up (and a back up to the back up?) Seriously, I love to sew about as much as I love to cook. So to me it is like having a different baking dish. Can I justify almost anything? I sure can.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Joy Joy

Guess What a dear friend to me??!! Volume one and volume two of Irma Rombauer's Joy of Cooking. So, today will be chocolate pots-de-creme (kind of a fancy pudding), one of the few desserts that Dear Hubby actually likes.

I have found a new source of wonderful recipes . The pictures of the foods are tantilizing and I get to covet the wares while "window shopping" online. Happy viewing.
Will try to post some pix and give an update on the pudding.
I'm back...with a new recipe to post...stuffed mushrooms. This is totally a Marsha original.
I used 18 large white mushrooms remove the stems and chop them up for part of the stuffing.
In skillet brown about 1/4 pound bacon (Iremoved a large portion of the fat and tried to cook more of the meat) and two small white onions, add mushroom stems.
About the time everything is browned the pan started getting a little dry so I added about 2 Tbsp butter and about a half cup of chicken broth and simmered. Next 6 slices of white bread cubed and one6 ounce can each of white crab meat and fancy lump crab not strain first just dump the cans liquid and all into the skillet. Mix together and remove from heat. It should be the consistency of a slightly wet stuffing. I then stuffed all 18 mushroom caps and put asiago cheese over 9 of them. Dear Hubby had a special request for no cheese on some of them.
I also have a chicken brining in a honey brine. I put about 3/4 cup of honey in around 10 cups of water, added about a cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of salt. I will update you on the outcome.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Leftovers from Heaven

I am fortunate enough to have a refrigerator full of yummy goodness. It is going to be a medley of left overs. I have left over sauce from the chicken so good I peed myself (that is the new name of it thanks to Amy!) which I am going to put over the left over shrimp. YUM! But for now it is time to hit the treadmill or else I really am going to be bursting at the seams!

Monday, December 28, 2009

See Food Sea Food and more See Food

Shopping trip to Syracuse squashed due to the weather. Instead I hit my local grocery store looking for cooking inspiration. While perusing the produce an elderly gentleman with a black apron and matching cap approached us with his wheeled cart of samples in tow. One bite of the prepackaged coconut shrimp had me headed straight for the non-prepackaged sea food. I had already loaded the cart with the fixings for stuffed mushrooms when my eyes began to outgrow my stomache (as usual). Shrimp, lobster tails, mussels, and king crab legs oh my! I rationalized this splurge with the fact that I have to work on New Year's eve. Since this is my night off, this will be my New Year's eve meal. Mark is going to make mussels marinara, I am going to make roasted lobster tails and stuffed mushrooms. Will post pictures and recipes once I am finished, as usual, no plan just a general idea of ingredients.
Ok, Mark's Mussels Marinara :
In fry pan about 1/4 cup of olive oil and almost a half of a full head of garlic chopped tsp of dried oregano and about a half teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes browned for about 5 minutes then add one large can crushed tomatoes and about two cups of water and let simmer for about 25 minutes plop in the mussels and simmer until they are all open. This was FANTASTIC. Mark's creation, not mine, I bow before the master! Nothing I would change.
Roasted Lobster Tail: Split lobster tail down the middle brush with olive oil, roast at 450 until tail starts to curl up (about 20 minutes).
I didn't get any pictures of the king crab legs as they were gobbled up before hand.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Chicken anyone?

Since my latest obsession has not arrived yet (it is a Sunday after all) and I have to work this evening, I am planning (and I use the word planning in the loosest possible way) to make a chicken dish. I haven't decided what it will be but am certain it will most likely have onions and garlic. I will name it after it is born. As with all of my children, I will surely have too see what it looks like before giving it a name. I remember once when I cooked a meal my husband (unless otherwise specified from here on out any reference to "my husband" shall refer to husband number 2, and unless specifically mentioned, let's just pretend husband number one AKA the defendant never existed)...anyway back to my story, I had the duty of preparing a meal for my lovely husband. I really didn't feel much like cooking so I took all of the left overs in the fridge and threw them in a caserole and sprinkled it with cheese. My husband was enamored with this creation and asked what it was called. With the finest of cheesy fake french accents I replied "I call it dinner". And so, dinner was served.
I will update you after the birth of my chicken baby, but for now, must get cooking. And uh, when is the cleaning fairy going to visit my house? Must be she has been blogging too much!

Ok, I'm back and only too pleased to give an update on my dish. Here is a overview of the recipe and when I figure out how to do it, I will post pictures of this lovliness.
Three pounded out chicken breasts one side dusted with italian bread crumbs, each inside topped with three thin slices of hard salami, asiago cheese (three slices with a vegetable peeler makes the perfect size) and two leaves of fresh basil. Roll up and brown in frying pan then place in oven at 380 (just a number I happen to pick) for about 35 minutes. I actually use a thermometer and cook until between 165 and 170. I also browned in a cast iron fry pan which was then easily popped into the oven to finish cooking. Mean while, I used my cast iron dutch oven for creating a sauce to die for. Start with about 2Tbsp of butter and about the same of olive oil and brown 1/2 yellow onion and three large cloves of garlic, then add about 2 and 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth, bring to simmer. I then added white cooking wine about a cup and continued to simmer about 5 minutes before placing 5 chopped roma tomatoes and about 1/2 cup heavy cream into the pot. By this time it tastes so good I want to swim in a vat of the stuff.
Lastly I thickened the sauce with 1 rounded tablespoon (the kind from the silverware tray, not the measuring type) in 1/2 cup water, add to simmering pot until thickened (you really have to stir quickly here to avoid clumping, and remove from heat as soon as it is mixed in well.)
Serve the sauce over the chicken for a darling, darling meal. I think one could easily substitute mushrooms for the tomatoes. So....a name, I am still thinking.

I was able to post the pix, not exactly in chronological order, but if you can't figure out the sequence, chances are you aren't going to be making this dish. Any suggestions for a name?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Julie and Julia inspired

Amazed and inspired by Julia Child. Given my limited access to television and diet that was mostly the result of my father's hunting, I had never been exposed to the likes of Julia Child. I have vague of memories of her via my grandmother's cable television set. Her and Mr. "and they'll say oooh it's so good" Foods.
My cooking education began around the age of three in my grandmother's kitchen. And truth be told, it really wasn't cooking per say that I was learning. I majored in baking, specifically desserts. I completely skipped being educated on main dishes. In fact, I knew nothing of side dishes, appetizers, meats, vegetables or punches. The first time I made a potato salad I didn't even boil the potatoes, but man could I whip up a cherry pie with the flakiest of crusts by the time I was ten. I had mastered the softest, chewiest chocolate chip cookies by the age of 12 sans recipe or measuring utensils. My confidence was bursting (and so were the seams on my pants). I had visions of becoming a pastry chef at a world famous eatery, or owning my own bakery. I continued to amaze myself with my creations into my early adulthood.
Two major events seriously impacted my drive for baking. Husband number one (there will be little discussion of him) and husband number two. Husband number one had celiac disease, and let's face it, there are only so many ways to be creative with flourless recipes and rice pudding. Husband number two "prefers a second salad to desserts". Screeching tire sound, rewind, what did you say? I couldn't believe it either. I presumed he was a freak of nature (turns out he is, but one that I continue to adore). Well, I had never mastered the perfect salad. What is there to a salad? Are you kidding me?! I did have much to learn, but salad over cheese cake? What a cruel joke! Oh my gosh how was this marraige to survive? Initially he did most of the cooking. He grew up in a traditional Italian family. Let's just say I let him do the cooking for the better part of the first ten years of our marraige. I was not prepared to have my "home made" sauce (Prego with my own meat and spices added) compared to that of his grandmother's or his mothers. So for nearly ten years, I watched. I all but gave up on baking for if I was the only one to eat it, I found it so less rewarding. I had found the true joy in creating in the kitchen for me had been the appreciation others had shown upon sharing the experience. I reserved creating my special treats for holidays and dinner parties.
Over the past few years, with help from the folks at Cooks Illustrated online and The Food Network (sadly enough while working out at the gym I have drooled over Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals) I have expanded my abilities and confidences in the kitchen. I have actually had guests for dinner threaten to move into my garage so that they may experience my fare on a daily basis! So HA when my husband thinks it is "too rich", or "too many flavors", or "just not my thing". I have rekindled a love for creating in the kitchen and I have actually grown the kahonas to create something I know won't be his "thing" just because I want to try it. I warn him that he isn't going to like it and I have learned to bring the left overs to work to share (where I still get a steady supply of ooohs and aaahs).
So there is a brief history of my time in the kitchen. Cooking has become an artform for me. A way to express myself and nourish my family. It is something I have taken pride in and completely enjoy. I am now ready for Julia. I am not going to do what Julie Powell did, a year challenge of Julia recipes. First of all, I don't follow recipes, I gain ideas from them, kind of like the way song writers are inspired by other song writers or artists are influenced by other artists. I am now completely inspired by Julia Child as a chef, as a person, and as a creator. I have ordered three of her cook books and am anxiously awaiting their arrival. Some of the dishes I most look forward to are those involving duck or goose, and any type of souffle.
As today is my husband's birthday (and I have to work evenings), I have created a simple (bland in my eyes but it will be tasty to him) beef stew and stuffed mushrooms for his dining pleasure.
If anyone is interested in the recipe it is as follows
Beef Stew
browned in two tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of olive oil 12 mushrooms, three cloves of garlic finely chopped, and one half of a yellow onion
browned in two tablespoons of butter one and a half pound of about 1 and a half inch cubed stew meat.
I placed both in my covered cast iron dutch oven and added 4 cups of beef broth, one teaspoon dried thyme, four peeled and cut potatoes, one stalk chopped celery and about 5 peeled, chopped carrots. This cooked at 350 for two hours. I haven't thickened it yet, as Dear Hubby likes to cook up egg noodles and serve the broth over the egg noodles, but it could be thickend with about two tablespoons of corn starch mixed in about a half a cup of cold water until disolved and then whisked into heated broth. More corn starch and be added if a thicker stew is desired.