Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fast Meal for a Busy Day

On an impulse, Mark bought a box of Chicken Cordon Bleu at Costco.  I wouldn't have, but he was having a fun solo shopping trip.  So that box of flash-frozen chicken/ham/cheese/breading dinner sat in the freezer for quite a while until tonight, when I didn't feel like making a meal.  Turn on the oven! Spray a pan! Unwrap frozen-solid chicken bricks! Open cans!  Yep, dinner was ready in 1/2 hour and, surprisingly, it was yummy.  Salty, but yummy!  Photo has a mysterious yellow glow - probably the pre-fabiness of it all!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Datil Pepper

Hot Datil Peppers!  Finally, a baby appears in the foliage.  Our summer was long and hot, too hot for a pepper to grow I suppose.  We have several tiny white blossoms, a promise of things to come!  Now what shall I cook when the pepper is ripe?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Uncle RP's Famous London Broil Marinade

  • Steaks, marinated in Uncle RP's special sauce all afternoon, then cooked outside on the grill.  Make mine rare/med.rare please!
  • Steamed brocolli, because Mark bought a huge bag of frozen organic brocolli at Costco and it may last forever.
  • Spaghetti noodles, boiled, then mised with Knorr's Pesto Sauce.  Mmmmm...garlic!
  • Homemade peach/blueberry ice cream.

Use London broil or flank steak – 1/3 pound per person 0 unless you are really hungry or like leftovers. Yummy in a pita with smothered onions and peppers.

Sprinkle a little garlic salt on meat.

½ cup Worscestershire
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup vegetable or olive oil
½ cup white or red wine
2 dashes Tabasco

Mix marinade, put marinade and meat in covered dish or gallon storage bag in refrigerator. Marinate steak for at least two hours, turning occasionally. Remove from refrigerator one hour before cooking.

Cook on grill about 4 or 5 minutes (no longer) on each side. Brush marinade on meat while grilling.

Let meat rest for a minute or two before slicing in thin slices across the grain (at an angle). Meat will be rare, follow next step.

Boil rest of marinade and pour over sliced meat. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spinach Phyllo Pie and Chicken

Give me chicken or give me death!

Mark swung through Costco and picked up some quick food - chicken and "some frozen vegetables".  His idea of frozen veggies is on a different page than me, but I'm glad for the diversity!  Taverna Spinach Pie was wonderful, and it's a 2-pack, so we'll get to enjoy the spinach/cheese goodness, all wrapped in phyllo again!  I'm guessing it's ricotta cheese.  I asked Mark to get chicken thighs or breasts, and he accidentally bought chicken legs (in six seal-a-meal 5-packs - easily mistaken for thighs), but no problemo, I shook some Badia Complete Seasoning on the leggies and baked them in the oven with the spinach thing.  Forty minutes later, out came the chicken to be covered on the counter and  uncover the spinach and baked another eight minutes to brown the phyllo.

Mark bought some amazing end-of-season peaches at a roadside stand on our road trip yesterday, and tonight he ran off to get some heavy cream so I can make the amazingly delicious burnt peach ice cream.  We'll cook it tonight, chilled overnight, and mix in the ice cream freezer tomorrow to set up in the freezer for tomorrow night.  He's a lucky man!  FYI - I changed up the recipe a bit, tempering in 3 egg yolks to make it more of a custard ice cream.  (Most of the time) the changes I make are really really good.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Company Chicken!

pressure cooker chicken
homemade mac n cheese
steamed brocolli

A whole chicken and several chicken breasts, seasoned and browned in olive oil, then pressure cooked for 25 minutes. Gosh I love my pressure cooker!  The flavors are so much more intense when cooked under pressure.

Homemade macaroni and cheese, made by boiling a small box of macaroni, shredding an 8 oz. block of medium cheddar cheese.  Heat until thickened: 2 cups milk with 3 T flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. dry mustard, 1/4 tsp. cayanne pepper powder, and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg.  Place layers in 8x12 inch casserole: 1/2 macaroni, 1/2 milk mixture, 1/2 cheese.  Bake, uncovered, in preheated 350 oven for 25 minutes.  Everyone always loves my mac n cheese.

Present were:  David, Audrey, Robert, his friend Brent, Mark and me.  Robert took the leftovers home with him.  Everyone loved it.  We had homemade cinnamon ice cream for dessert.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BBQ Chicken Legs

A package of 20 chicken legs was $4.  Wow!  Ten chickens sit legless. 
I like dark meat. I like white meat.  I like any part of a chicken!

I shook some Spike Seasoning on the legs, then Mark put them on the (covered) gas grill for about a half an hour, turning a few times.  Squirted the cooked legs with store-bought barbeque sauce, turned the fire off and cooked a few minutes longer.  Taa daa! 

No potatoes to make potato salad, no baked beans to warm up, so with imagination lacking, I made a pot of rice (using canned chicken broth), heated a can of black eyed peas, and a can of spinach.  Everyone ate, nobody complained, and nothing was leftover.  Looking back, it seems like a strange combination, but tasted very very good.

We had homemade ice cream for dessert -  vanilla, with fresh blueberries and sliced strawberries on top.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Burned Peach Ice Cream

Serves: About a quart and a half and is absolutely incredibly wonderful!

• 2 cups half-and-half
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup peach preserves (not jelly)
• 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
• Pinch kosher salt
• 4 medium peaches, chopped, seeded and grilled or broiled until brown. A little sprinkle of sugar browns it up better. The ice cream is too mild if the peaches don’t taste intense.

Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp), except peaches, in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. (see note below) Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F.  Remove from heat and strain into a lidded container. Cool mixture, then refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.  I throw away the strained peach preserve chips, as I feel the flavor has been cooked out of them.

Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit's instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Meanwhile, chop peaches roughly. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 and reached a soft serve consistency, add the peaches (a little at a time) and continue turning to incorporate. Spoon the mixture into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.

NOTE: If you do not have a thermometer, bring the mixture just barely to a simmer. As soon as you see a bubble on the surface, remove it from the fire.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cinnamon Ice Cream

Mark loves cinnamon ice cream and claims this is the best - ever!

• 3/4 cup white sugar
• 2-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the sugar and half-and-half. When the mixture begins to simmer, remove from heat, and whisk half of the mixture into the eggs. Whisk quickly so that the eggs do not scramble. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan, and stir in the heavy cream. Continue cooking over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and whisk in vanilla and cinnamon. Set aside to cool.

2. Pour cooled mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.

My amazing KitchenAid stand mixer once again thrilled me with the wonderful ice cream attachment.  The bowl waits in the freezer, waiting for the moment it's called upon to do it's job.  Creamy goodness!

Teaching David and Audrey

David and Audrey just had their 3rd anniversary of the date they began dating.  Neither one of them are interested in learning to cook, but I worry that if David ever moves out (I'm ready!), will he eat anything besides frozen pizza and cereal and milk?  He knows how to cook one simple meal: fried hamburger patty, instant mashed potatoes, and canned vegetable.

Lesson tonight:

Iced tea -  2 family-sized tea bags in a pitcher, a metal serving spoon to  keep the glass from breaking by absorbing the heat, and a teapot whistling with about a quart of boiling water.  Pour over tea bags and let it sit.

The meal:
Pour a dab of olive oil in the bottom of a baking pan. Dredge six defrosted chicken thighs around in oil, skin side down.  Sprinkle Spike seasoning on underside, turn over, sprinkle more on the skin and let it bake in 350 F preheated oven for 20 minutes, skin side up.  Open  a cans of green beans and a can of black beans, put in two small pots, lids on to conserve energy, both turned on simmer/low.  Fill a pot about 2/3 with water and heat on high until boiling.  Add 1/2 tsp salt for flavor, and two of those rice "Boil in Bags".  Set timer for 10 minutes, then drain water from rice pot and hang the bags on the sides of the pot to finish draining.  Cut open and pour into a big bowl.  Cover with foil.  The chicken should be ready now.  Remove from oven, move chicken out of the oily pan and onto a paper plate to drain, pour oil into empty can.  Explain how oil clogs pipes.  Squirt dish detergent in pan and add hot water to soak.  Take the tea bags out of the tea and toss.  Add ice and cold water to make a full pitcher of tea.
Serves four.  Leftovers!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Steam Eggs to Hard Boiled

I love hard boiled eggs!  I don't love it when they get that icky green/grey tint on the yolk membrane. Watch this video clip to learn how to steam an egg into hard boiled in just 12 minutes!  Amazing!!

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