Eat Something

{October 11, 2008}   Girl Scout Potato Casserole
Behold the newborn son of blob... ok, potato casserole is not exceptionally photogenic...

Behold the newborn son of blob... ok, potato casserole is not exceptionally photogenic... but it's pretty good, especially when you add the onion and cornflakes (I saute the onions with part the butter and coat the cornflakes with the rest of the melted butter)... if you open the oven half way thru to add the cornflakes you do need to cook it the full hour...

Girl Scout Potato Casserole (original recipe given, tried and true)
2 lb hashbrowns or cubed Irish Potatoes
1 pt Sour Cream
a can of cream of chicken
10 oz grated cheddar
1/2 c butter
1 c minced onion

Mix in 9×13 pyrex. Cook at 350. After 30 min, top with corn flakes and cook 30 min more.

My Modified Version: (as I was lazy and wanted to do even less)
28 oz bag frozen potatoes o’brian (diced potatoes w/peppers and onions; I measured and this was about 6 c), not thawed
1 c sour cream
1 c cottage cheese
s/p, garlic/onion powder
1 can cream of chicken
1/2 lb grated cheddar

Mix together all but cheese… Then top with cheese and bake about 50 min @ 350…


{October 11, 2008}   Crockpot Simmered Gumbo

So first thing first, this isn’t really a crockpot recipe in the since of dump it all in the crock in 5 mins or less on your way out the door… but rather a “I have time to cook the bits but I need to leave the house a few times while it is simmering so I’ll put it in the crockpot” kind of thing… so you do need to plan some time to deal with it either in the morning or the night before… and you could skimp on browning your meats and sauteing your veg if you’re not worried about the caramelization/flavor loss there… but you should really take your time with the roux and get it nice and dark over a slow heat as this will make a huge impact on flavor, and if you rush it you’re likely to either burn it or have uneven patches and starting over makes it take a lot more time than doing it slow and right in the first place… so at least plan time for the roux…

If you want to make the whole thing on the stove, just use a serving platter to pile the cooked meat and veg on as you go and while you make the roux, then whisk in all your liquid and bring to a boil… add back all your bits, cover, return to a boil and reduce to a simmer… then add the shrimp in the last five minutes or so from when you want to eat and simmer right in the gumbo (until they are pink and curled up tight like a clip on earring)…

with the shrimp and over rice...

with the shrimp and over rice...

Crockpot Simmered Gumbo
3/4-1 lb andouille sausage, sliced
1.5-2 lb cubed beef **
1.5-2 lb chicken breast tenders (mine were frozen), cut in spoon friendly chunks
2 qts chicken stock, separated (if you want to make this not in the crock you’ll probably want around 3 qts)
1/2 lb cajun style bacon ***
2 lg onions, diced
1 head garlic, minced
oregano, garlic/onion pwd, thyme, blk pep, bay leaves
1/2 head celery, diced (about 2-2.5 c)
7 carrots, diced (about 2-2.5 c)
about 1/2 c flour
1-2 bell peppers, diced
handful of okra pods (or say 7), finely sliced ****
1-1.5 T King Creole seasoning (courtesy of Joelen from the prize booty, but please adjust to your tastes)
2-3 lbs shrimp (most people will prefer these shelled, I’d suppose)

Preheat your crock on high, preheat your pan to med high or high… Brown up the sausage on both sides, add to the crock… brown up the beef on all sides (doesn’t have to cook thru just want a good sear with some nice browned bits), and add to the crock… then I added water to deglaze the pan and poached the chicken a bit to thaw it and make it easy to chop… chopped and added them to the crock… topped the meat in the crock with 1 qt of the stock… dumped the deglazed poaching liquid down the drain (as I didn’t need the extra liquid in the crock and knew the stock would be tastier)… reduce to medium, and set about crisping the bacon, drained off about 1/2 c of the bacon grease (most of it)and reserved… add the onions and garlic (more oil if particularly needed, I did not but depends on the leanness of your bacon and how crisp you cooked it, so you gauge that) along with the seasonings (which I actually remembered to measure but didn’t remember to write down) and cook until onions are becoming translucent… add celery and carrots (I add only half the celery to saute so there is a contrast of soft and crisp, but you can saute all or none as you wish…) and continue cooking until they caramelize a bit, then add to the crock… I reduce the heat to med-low (but you could probably get by on med if you are careful, attentive and a diligent stirrer) add the reserved bacon grease and the flour to the pan to make your roux, and darken to about a walnut color, stirring constantly… whisk in the other qt of stock and bring to a boil, boil 2-3 minutes to thicken and pour into the crock… add the peppers,okra, and cajun/creole seasoning and reduce the heat to Low and allow to simmer all day… when we were getting ready to eat, pulled out some of the gumbo broth into the pan to boil the shrimp and add back to the gumbo (I added them to the kids’ and the Hubster’s portions)…

give it a little stir... and now you are ready to simmer it, while you go about what you have to do...

give it a little stir... and now you are ready to simmer it, while you go about what you have to do...

this is about how dark you want it... trust me, it is worth it to go slow...

this is about how dark you want it... trust me, it is worth it to go slow...

Ive got carcasses, yes I do... but Im not making stock, how bout you?

Ive got carcasses, yes I do... but Im not making stock, how bout you?






             NB: technically, I took the roux a touch darker than the pic… but that was a good point to snag the pic and still get the broth in in time…

** If you want to use pork instead that is fine, but it’ll need to be cooked all the way thru first as it’s not gonna taste so good cooking from the simmer… hence beef is easier if you don’t have leftover pork roast or such on hand…

*** pretty much a hickory smoked one with a dry rub on it, so you can use regular and add more seasonings if you don’t have this… I just like that it’s smoked with the rub, need to get charlie’s to make it this way as their bacon would make a better base… [note to self: attempt to sweet talk the butcher into cajoling whoever smokes it]

**** but oddly this time it was truly a fluke as it was just a grab and bag… I only counted as I was chopping, but it brought a smile to my face… and I forgot to measure but I’m guessing this was in the neighborhood of 1 c… of course if you like okra feel free to use however much you want, personally I hate the stuff… but for me gumbo is not gumbo until it’s got that okra ooze in it (even if I do fish out the actual pieces)…

{October 3, 2008}   Lentil Hodge Podge
yeah, it is really nothing special but it was eaten by even the lentil groaners...

yeah, it is really nothing special but it was eaten by even the lentil groaners, aka. the kids...

Just a slap bash dinner, as I was tired and didn’t want to cook that night…

Lentil Hodge Podge
5 carrots, peeled and diced
3/4 lb frozen chicken, cut in chunks
2 c water
salt and garlic pwd
3 c leftover cooked white rice
2 c leftover saucy taco lentils or lentil soup (or a can of lentil soup? is that 2 c?) **

Boil ingredients carrots thru seasonings about 7 min (or until chicken is cooked thru and carrots soft, may vary based on your chopping, but it really took me 7 min I used the timer for you)… add rice and soup and simmer until warmed thru…

** Please note that if you aren’t using the taco lentils and/or your soup is bland you may need to add more seasonings as this is where most of the flavor comes from… chicken, rice, and carrots are good but not bringing much oomph so something has to shine as the star… and I did this with lentils that were pretty much just lentils–I think there were some onions and such, but if this was not full of chunks of things like sausage and potatoes and such… if yours is you can still use it you just may need more like 3-4 c or it to coat everything, but I’m betting it’d be yummy and probably better than this was… but sometimes you just gotta eat what’s on hand in the house… LOL

{September 29, 2008}   Papa-style Red Beans and Rice
hydrated pintos and Casa Nueva

the key players tonight: hydrated pintos and Casa Nueva

Ok, so Saturday I treated the fam to real deal red beans and rice which I haven’t made since before the 6 yo was eating table foods… And I am doing it the way my Pops would, aka soaking them in red wine… We had every intention of submitting this for Joelen’s Fall Foods/Red Wine Challenge as it is THE staple fall food we had growing up, nearly once a week. (And as a quirky side note: I almost my this an Eat to the Beat with Red, Red Wine just because I got the whiny UB40 song stuck in my head while open it and wanted to pass it on and get it stuck in someone else’s since I’m wicked like that… but alas, it’s not really got anything to do with the song beyond the obvious, so I won’t… but you can still have the song in your head free of charge… no need to thank me…) and Jo’s wrap up

Now briefly, if you are wanting to salvage the most beans a gentle slower soak from cold or tepid water is ideal but I rarely plan in advance so well, so hot tap it is and it is gentler than a quick soak (boil). But as always there is a better method than I exemplify… So you can negotiate less if you want, now on to it…

Wine soak...

Round two: Wine soak...

Papa-style Red Beans and Rice
1 lb red beans (I had only pinto and turtles in the pantry, so the pintos won for obvious reasons)
1 bottle red wine (I used a Cab Sav)
about half a dozen cloves garlic, peeled and split
half a yellow onion cut in wedges
1 T ea: salt and bacon grease
1/2 T ea (or more to taste): blk pep, oregano, and sage (and I do garlic and onion powder but that’s me, most people don’t do both dried and fresh together but I do)
some fresh parsley if you’ve got it, completely optional so no biggie if you don’t (please don’t use dried parsley and invite me to dinner though)
1/2 tsp cayenne (this will not make it spicy so if you seek that use more–I would but the kids would let me–for me this is just to round and balance the pepper flavor but normal people aren’t so anal so feel free to drop it too if you are hesitant)
bay leaves (1 do 4-6 but you don’t really have to use that many)

Rinse and sort the beans of stones and obvious bad beans. Cover the beans in 1.5-2 qts hot tap water and scoop off any floaters and set aside to soak. When doubled, I drain, rinse and resort the beans… Put the beans that pass muster back in the pot cover with the bottle of wine, throw in the veg and seasonings and soak until 3 times the starting volume (you can use the handle of a wooden spoon to gauge this)… Then bring to boil and reduce to simmer until tender, about an hr I guess… I’m a ’til it’s done kinda girl if you haven’t noticed by now… Serve this over rice which you of course will cook in some chicken or fish stock (and feel free to throw some fresh parsley or some dried cilantro into this for a big more color and flavor, I usually do but it is fine without it too of course)… And no this doesn’t contain the secret seasoning blend, not because I’m holding out on you but because both me and daddy just tinker and sprinkle until it smells right so you’ll have to adapt this to taste and I probably even added some other seasonings but all the ones in larger amts are accounted for and I have seasoned beans precisely like this when on vacation without my spice rack before so they’ll be fine this way, just not quite like at my table at home… I often need hubby to serve as notetaker to keep me on top of these kinds of things as I don’t pay attention too much…

and YES I said put in the salt before the beans are cooked, and yes every other recipe will tell you after, and yes they turn out fine and are better seasoned with less salt when you do it before… we honestly made beans every week, sometimes a few times a week, I swear you can cook them with the salt nothing bad will happen and you’ll probably like them better that way anyway… but you can of course salt them afterward if you wish, nothing bad will happen that way either really (outside of likely consuming more salt to get the same flavor)… so feel free to do with that what you will…

we cooked it drier than I normally would due the wine/children thing... but I prefer leaving them saucier and just pulling them as soon as the beans are tender...

over rice

PS. and since I was gonna make Daddy’s Cornbread until we realized we had no cornmeal I also threw in the 1lb of browned pork sausage designated for that… but growing up this would usually either be meatless or have slices of kilbalsa in it… and while I’m sure if you asked my father would tell you he’d put a whole package in but I can vouch that it is not remotely close to true as I was a horrid, horrid food theif and occassionally would recruit my little brother in the snatching process as the Pops would grow too suspicious of me hanging around too much around sliced kilbalsa (or sliced cheese for the mac and cheese or cheese dip) and shoo me away… LOL So if you want meat I’d suggest using the kilbalsa insted of the ground sausage, it is better that way…

Hubster again…This is just a quick tomato salad that I made the other night.

12 Cherry tomatoes
12 Kalamata Olives Pitted and sliced in half
4 oz of fresh mozzarella cheese – sliced into cubes
2 oz of creamy ceasar vinagrette salad dressing

Slice Cherry tomatoes in half and mix with kalamata olives and mozzarella cheese. toss with salad dressing and serve.

{September 29, 2008}   Grandma’s Chili – Comfort Food
apparently, this is chili mac (despite being chili free)...

apparently, this is chili mac (despite being chili free)...

according to the Hubs, it is important this be INSTANT potatoes not just regular old mashed potatoes...

according to the Hubs, it is important this be INSTANT potatoes not just regular old mashed potatoes...

This is the hubster posting some comfort food from my childhood. My mom called this grandma’s chili. Not really chile so to speak, more like chili-mac. I loved having this on cold winter’s nights, it always warmed me up and after everyone had their first bowl it was always a rush to get seconds. I would always put a pat of butter in the center of the mashed potatoes and I would eat around the mashed potatoes seeing how much I could eat, while still getting everything in a spoonful, without breaking into the center “filling” of melted butter. When I did, it was so much fun watching the butter ooze out of the mashed potatoes and adding more flavor to the dish. This dish just brings up warm memories for me and dinners with my family while growing up.

Grandma’s Chili – Comfort Food
8 oz elbow macaroni uncooked
1 lb ground beef (73/27)
2 cans of dark red kidney beans undrained
1 med onion chopped
2 tsp garlic powder.
8 oz kethchup
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
instant mashed potatoes (Make for six servings)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook ground beef and onions with salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil and oregano. In another pot cook macaroni until tender. Once beef mixture is cooked add kidney beans and kethcup with 1/2 to 1 cup of water mix together and simmer 5 minutes. Add macaroni to mixture and simmer 5 minutes more. While simmering make the mashed potatoes and spoon into a bowl, (add butter and salt to taste), then spoon chili over mashed potatoes. Leave as is or do as my sisters would do, (my 6 year old prefered it this way too), and mix it all together.

how it really looked when served (copius amts of pasta hide the mashed potatoes)...

how it really looked when served (copius amts of pasta hide the mashed potatoes)...

while you can still see the potatoes underneath... (this mind you will not last)

while you can still see the potatoes underneath... (this mind you will not last)

Belatedly submitted to Joelen for the Family Favorites Read, Watch, and Eat (I was a bad wife and went to bed without doing it inspite of all the hubby’s efforts in making it and typing up the post, but that’s no shocker these days unfortunately) and don’t forget to check out the wrap up… And when I finish posting them, you can check out my dad’s red beans rice, or my g-ma’s rolls–hands down a most requested recipe ever, that I frankly tend to delegate because I’m so lazy–which we had with this chili dinner (major carb offense, I know) or Buttermilk Pie from my other grandmother for more of the weekend’s family classics…

{September 25, 2008}   Microwave Cream Corn

Straightforward enough… I used frozen cob corn instead of fresh (would work nicer with fresh) and I’ll make another stock from the cobs… I make about a double batch of this, but am throwing you the original recipe…

Cream-Style Corn (C. O’Bryant, St Anne Catholic Church Tribute to 9/11/01 cookbook, p 67)
6 ears fresh corn
1/4 c corn oil
1 tsp salt

I have to find the cookbook and pop the directions up here. But essentially: you grate the corn from the cobs mix in the oil and salt, cover and microwave around 20 mins or so stirring every 4-5 think…

{September 25, 2008}   Asian Veg w/Soy and Seeds

Asian Veg w/Soy and Seeds
1 lb bag frozen asian veg (broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, onions) or the equivalent of fresh **
2 T ea: soy sauce and water (use about 2X water for fresh vegs)
1/4 c toasted sunflower seeds

break up the frozen veg and scatter through the pan mix soy sauce and water together and pour over the veg cover and simmer over MED until veg are tender… spinkle with sunflower seeds (sometimes I top with the seed before I cover and cook) toss and serve…

** when using fresh I usually just make this with broccoli flowerets and sauteed onions

{August 29, 2008}   Cheesy Potato Broccoli Soup

Pretty straightforward, run-of-the-mill soup made to suit the 4yo’s craving… Simple basic scout night eating… served with grilled cheese and raw carrots, special requests really don’t get much easier than this…

Cheesy Potato Broccoli Soup
4 oz cheese, sliced/chunked or cubed
1/2 lb broc
1 lb potatoes
1/4 onion, halved
1.5 milk
3 c cold water (you could I suppose use broth here)
2 tsp: s/p, dry mustard
1 tsp: garlic/onion
2T: butter, flour

Cover segmented broccoli with 1.5c water, and microwave 3 min on HIGH. Put in the blender and puree… Melt flour and butter and seasonings together until well incorporated and pour in broccoli puree slowly while whisking out the flour lumps… Let that come up to boil while you add milk, cheese, onion to blended and blitz until relatively smooth… Pour cheese mixture into pot whisking into broccoli mixture… Add the remaining half of the water to the blender and blend to rinse/collect any remaining yummy bits and add to the pot as well. Promptly add the diced potatoes now as this is a good time since it is no longer hot… bring back to a boil and simmer about 20 or until potatoes are done.

{August 26, 2008}   Squash Hushpuppies

This is a huge favorite here… and was even a hit with the not-so veggie interested in-laws one Thanksgiving. Family, guests, the kidlets everyone who’s eaten them seems to like them… of course maybe it’s just shock that there’s squash in there, I dunno.

Silence those puppies...with squash! LOL

Silence those puppies...with squash! LOL

At any rate, I love them and figured as long as we are frying and he’s home I’d get the Hubs the help me make these. I premixed them and let him have at it after the meeting, while I sat with the homework king… This is the orginal recipe, as again it’d be hard to get your hands on… I tend to add salt and onion/garlic powder, and pre-cook the diced onions–but mainly do it pretty close to as is, so there’s no need for both versions… (oh and the italics are mine to make sure you don’t overlook this as it is commonly overlooked, and it does matter so add leavening if yours is plain)

Squash Hushpuppies (by D. Holmes, from the Tylertown Cooking with Friends cookbook, p 93)
2 c cooked squash, drained and mashed
3/4 c self-rising cornmeal
1 egg
1 med onion, finely chopped
1/2 c buttermilk

Mix well an drop in hot oil. Keeps well. May be frozen and reheated in the microwave.

maybe not so cute, but a HUGE hit with the kids...

maybe not so cute, but a HUGE hit with the kids...

So the the oldest saw these and about exploded with enthusiasm… He was dying to try these “potato cookies” as he renamed them… Mine aren’t as cute as hers (why I can’t make cute food is beyond me) but they were tasty and if I can master the smashing of them they might make some frequent appearances…

Potato Cookies (pretty much exactly PW’s Crash Hot Potatoes, just a smaller batch)
8 red skin potatoes
olive oil
salt, pepper, oregano

scrub your potatoes and put them in a pot… cover with cold water, and boil until fork tender… preheat oven to 450, and drizzle oil all over cookie sheet… remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and place on oiled sheet… smash and drizzle tops with oil, sprinkling with the seasonings and bake until golden, about 23 min…

Sometimes simple and humble brings great joy… just check out the baby!! He never dreamed of eating so much…

The roasted veggies before and after baking... a minor transformation, yes. But there is beautiful and joyous flavor hidden in this subtlety...

The roasted veggies before and after baking... a minor transformation, yes. But there is beautiful and joyous flavor hidden in this subtlety...

Roasted parsnips, mushrooms, and green beans
5 c trimmed green beans
3 c matchsticked parsnip
1 c sliced mushrooms
olive oil (I used an extra virgin–a cooking one not a drizzling one–and while most people wouldn’t, I think it added a lot of flavor)
s/p, garlic pwd, onion pwd to taste
1 T thyme
1/2 T rosemary
1.5 T butter, cut in tiny pieces

rinse the beans and snap off their ends… peel the parsnip and matchstick to a similar thickness and length as the beans… toss veggies with copious amt olive oil and the seasonings, spread out on oiled jellyroll pan, dot with butter and roast at 425 (I don’t have a time on this, as we didn’t use a recipe and I actually just roasted them until I thought about them again and it happened to work out for the better this time…)

The pitty pat loved the crap out of these, he devoured them and this quantity of veggies only ended up feeding him, Hubs, and me. LOL Guess we’ll, have to start buying parsnips more… I really only used them for soups and stews or maybe pot pie and such… but the baby was ripping into them as if we’ve been holding out on him. All the coos laughs and expressions made em wish I was better with the camera.

The pitty pat LOVED the roasted veggies---especially the parsnips--he was a stinking happy baby. And most probably ate more food than ever before in a single sitting!! Before it was all said an done he was covered in thyme... and so elated.

The pitty pat LOVED the roasted veggies--especially the parsnips--he was a stinking happy baby. And most probably ate more food than ever before in a single sitting!! Before it was all said an done he was covered in thyme... and so elated.

So while this is one of the easiest things to make (no need for a recipe just caramelize some onions, add some beef broth and top with french bread and swiss and heat until cheese melts), it has nevertheless been requested so here goes.

Oopsie... I forgot to take a pic before eating, but there is soup, bread, and cheese all still there so all is set, no?

Oopsie... I forgot to take a pic before eating, but there is soup, bread, and cheese all still there so all is set, no?

French Onion Soup
1.5 yellow onions, thinly sliced
olive oil
1 T butter
couple pinches of salt (go really easy on the salt–your gonna have a marked saltiness from reducing the liquids soon)
pinch of thyme
6 c beef broth/stock
3 T worsterchire sauce
lightly toasted slices of french bread (just toasted on the one side that is to lay in the soup is adequate really)
swiss cheese

And thank goodness for second helpings... please for give the untoasted bread, this is approximately the look Truth is I am not sure the pic helps much... or does it any favors...

And thank goodness for second helpings... please for give the untoasted bread, this is approximately the look. Truth is I am not sure the pic helps much... or does it any favors...

Caramelize the onions slowly over med-low heat with a little salt and thyme in a covered pot. When they look satiny and browned add the liquids and simmer until reduced by half. Put into ovensafe bowls and top with slices of french bread toast and slices of a swiss cheese and bake in a moderate oven until cheese is melted. (Alternately you can just make cheese toasts on a baking sheet and float them on your soup if you don’t have any oven safe bowls)

{August 24, 2008}   French Tomato Pie

This was an auditioned dish for the french food GTG… it didn’t pass because I wasn’t thrilled with the texture… but it’s still worth a try if the pureed tomatoes and cream pie idea isn’t off-putting to you.

I used a store bought roll out crust, and dropped the sugar (as the tomatoes were good and they mentioned not when or why to add them anyway) and drained of most of the bacon grease reserving a bit to cook the onions in… but more or less stuck with the recipe and since it’d be very hard to get ahold of anyway I’m including the original version…enjoy!

Well, when all is said and done you have a pie...

Well, when all is said and done you have a pie...

Tarte a la Tomate (by Mr & Mrs. Duwat from the St Anne Catholic Church Tribute to 9/11/01 cookbook, p 56)
1 c plus 1 T flour
1/3 c water
1/4 c oil
pinch of salt
1/2 lb bacon
pepper to taste
1 T herbes de provence** or italian seasoning
2 onions
.9 lb can crushed tomatoes
14 oz tomato purèe
4 eggs
8 oz sour cream or créme fraiche
3 T sugar
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg one remorse is that this gorgeous red gets lost to the sour cream (and you will have more of a penne a la vodka pinkness throughout). one remorse is that this gorgeous red gets lost to the sour cream (and you will have more of a penne a la vodka pinkness throughout).

In a bowl, mix flour and salt. Add oil and knead. Add and incorporate water slowly until it forms a ball. Place the dough in refridgerator for 2 hours. During this time, chop the onions and brown in a little canola oil in a pot. Add the diced bacon and cook over meat heat for a few minutes. THen add the puree of tomatoes. Add the salt. pepper, ginger, nutmeg, and herbes de provence. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes. While the tomato mixture is simmering, prepare pie shell. Roll out dough, then place in a greased and floured pie pan. Prick the dough with a fork and place a few dried beans on top before placing it in the oven. This will prevent it from rising and bubbling. Cook in a preheated oven (350) for 10 minutes. Add the sour cream and then the eggs, one at a time. Stir with a wooden spoon. Let the tomato mixture cook on medium heat, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove beans from pie shell and fill with tomato filling. Cook in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until done. Serve warm.

** herbes de provence is essentially a blend of rosemary, marjoram, thyme and summer savory or basil in seats of dominance with a few other herbs and some lavendar thrown in so barring a great affinity for the lavender back note… you can likely make do with things in your pantry, mixing as you will, if you don’t have them on hand…

{August 24, 2008}   Pineapple sweet potatoes

Ok so normally when I make this, it’s sort of twice baked sweet potatoes… cut in half carefully scooped out leaving some meat to support as the skin is flimsy… roughly mashed with some withstanding chunks with a bit of s/p and maybe butter and even a splash of the pineapple juice if needed or desired… then the refilled shells topped with crushed pineapple and spinkled a small amt of brown sugar and sunflower seeds and cooked until brown sugar is bubbly… and that is one of the best things, mmmmm…. you should totally make them that way–very, very good

That particular night I had gianourmous potatoes so I cubed 2 of them and mixed with them with a can of pineapple tidbits and a can chunks and the juices (I get the kind in fruit juice) add a couple pinches of salt and sprinkle with some brown sugar)… Cover and bake until potatoes are fork tender… this was so-so and not close enough to the real thing. But definitely easy and edible… and sometimes that’s enough.

I don’t really have a recipe for either version… but I am reasonably certain that the twice baked version came from one of those paperback betty crocker’s or something of the like (or at least something quite similar that jump-started all this business) that you can get in the checkout line… but those are tiny thin little paperback magazines so I will check around the pantry for it and add their recipe if I can find it… so that you can have more of a springboard to start from… (but it’s become one of those things I just do, and I really don’t measure anything… so I’m useless beyond a vague description…)

With the twice baked ones, I often microbake the potatoes rather than oven bake just the cheat time as you can do this while it preheats… I nuke them on high (5 min for 1, 7 for 2, 10 for 3, 14 for 4) then wrap them in foil and tuck them inside oven mitts and let stand 5-10 min  (or until I remember, which is why I use the oven mitts to help keep them warm as I forget to check on them… a normal person need not tuck them in a mitt).  Then just split them in half and go about the rest as if you’d baked them normally…

{August 16, 2008}   Sicilian Broccolini

Just the side dish to the Hubs’ Fra Diavolo, it was delish and he’s sicilian so that means it is too, right? Well close enough anyway…

Ok, so this is not a great pic... but you really must eat this!! This girl LOVED it. So wish we had made a bigger batch actually (yep, I'm a piggie piggie oink oink... but so what it's a veggie!).

Ok, so this is not a great pic... but you really must eat this!! This girl LOVED it. So wish we had made a bigger batch actually (yep, I'm a piggie piggie oink oink... but so what it's a veggie!).

Sicilian Broccolini
2 T pine nuts
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 oz sliced mushrooms
14 black olives (they were kalamatas because they are my favorite and he loves me, and he even counted out 14 for my obsessive self for the same reason)
1 bunch broccolini
some lemon zest and freshly ground sea salt (in unknown amts, sorry)
some grated parm

Saute the garlic, mushrooms and pine nuts in olive oil. Add the pitted and chopped olives after 2-3 min. Add lemon zest, lay broccolini on top and salt…cover with a little bit of water and put a lid on top until broccolini is bright green and done (just a few more minutes, maybe less than 5 but I dunno). Top with parm (I tried to toss some broc back on top for a pic… so you could tell what it was. LOL)

PS. The pic does this NO justice, so you should really make it yourself… I swear it was fab!! Not that I say that a lot or anything…

So the Hubs wanted lentil soup, when the cat got out of the bag the kids all groaned. And remarks like “Lentil soup is boring!” and “Maybe I should go to bed early.” started flying, LOL. So I try to sell them on this idea of a brand new lentil soup, an “Andy Warhol” Lentil Soup with lots of pretty colors–because they are on an Andy Warhol kick since their last art project with Ms Amy (and by last I mean the most recent, but also the final of the series which they are none too happy about) and trip to the museum. And while they did take the hook a bit and act interested at first, upon learning it was still essentially the same thing, they deemed it would still be too boring to eat. And in an Andy Warhol themed twist, I bumped up the 5 yo’s request for “Possibilities” (aka. Campbell’s) to fit in tonight since it’s quick and not much trouble to make it or the sandwiches…

“Andy Warhol” Chicken Lentil Soup
1.5 qts broth (made from the roasted chicken carcass)
about 2 c chicken meat (pulled from the boiled bones before contining the broth, mosly white meat–which contrasted well)
1.5 c yellow onion
1 c chopped carrots
3-4 cloves garlic (I actually had another huge clove like before in this head too)
3 purple potatoes (maybe 1 lb)
2 c lentils
1 can tomatoes
1 tsp ea: cumin, thyme, lemon zest
s/p, cayenne, lemon juice to taste

Round 1: I started the broth, pulled the meat from the bones and added the bones and skin back to the broth pot with the onion root. Chopped the bigger pieces of meat and put the bowl in the fridge (I’m obsessively worried about poisoning myself with poultry, but maybe you could leave it on the counter I just don’t want to chance it). Let the bones simmer until they broke down…

Round 2: Drained the bones from the stock and reserved it. Started sauteing the onions carrot and garlic in a little olive oil. As the onions began to wilt, added the cumin, thyme, lemon zest and continue cooking them until the spices were fragrant and the carrots beginning to soften a bit. Then added the meat and stir well to coat in some of the oil and spices. Meanwhile, back when starting the other veg, I boiled the purple potatoes in some water and a bit of salt. When they yield with a little oomph, so pre-fork tender, drain the potatoes and let cool enough to handle. Add the broth, lentils, tomato and s/p to taste to the veg saute and chicken and cook about 15 min. Peel the potatoes, if desired (very desired with mine as they were pretty rough before cooking which only became more noticable), and cut into spoon friendly chunks and add to the soup. Taste again for any seasoning adjustments and simmer another 10 min or so.

Now I reckon I should have gotten a pic, but I didn’t… but it is so colorful and somewhat bizzare to behold. And I probably should have garnished it with something green for more contrast…but I didn’t. Really we just ate it with bread and went back for extra portions (thank goodness the kids opted out so we could). The hubs would have desired some sausage but I’d had more chicken left on the bird than I’d expected so I decided not to bother (maybe next time I’d use a little bacon or sausage grease for the sauteing to help him not miss it as much because I really liked it without the sausage). But strange colors aside, it’s really just a lentil soup and you could sub red lentils and purple potatoes in any favorite lentil soup you’d like for similar effect…and maybe your lentil soup recipes aren’t “boring” either, LOL.

{August 15, 2008}   Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic

So I make roasted broccoli a decent amount because one of the kids really likes it and well we have broccoli when we can find it looking good here… I usually use Rachael Ray’s recipe (with s/p, garlic), but the Hubs can never make it right and it will come out wilted, a little soggy and not even browned on the bottom. So I had said I’d contemplate a better way, but I truly never tried too hard. Well, it turns out I should have looked thru some old Food and Wines from the butler’s pantry…

As it turns out the hubster found this recipe in the current issue, but it’s part of the anniversary special and thus a reprint (from Oct 2007) so theoretically I already had it sitting with my cookbooks. I think the big problem is I rarely give F&W a chance on simple things as they can make life complicated, but I do end up making a lot of the simpler recipes fairly frequently so I don’t know why I rarely use them as a source. I actually made more of a half batch because that’s all the broccoli I had in the house but here’s their full recipe…

Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic (Food and Wine, Sept 2008, p 86)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 heads of broccoli (1 1/4 pounds total), stems peeled and heads halved lengthwise
1/2 cup water
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

In a large, deep skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the broccoli, cut side down, cover and cook over moderate heat until richly browned on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Add the water, cover and cook until the broccoli is just tender and the water has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the garlic and the crushed red pepper and cook uncovered until the garlic is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season the broccoli with salt and black pepper, drizzle with the lemon juice and serve.

NB: If you wonder why that’s so composed a recipe it’s because it’s c&p’d from F&W. But this was pretty good. I’ll actually probably make it less fussy, but I definitely think an on the stove version may prove useful from time to time. So I’m grateful he found this…

{August 12, 2008}   Grape Carrots (Microwave glazed)

Grape Carrots
4 fat carrots, peeled and bias cut (about 2 c)
1 c halved red grapes
1 tsp dried tarragon

Boil the carrots in salted water to desired doneness. In a large covered dish, microwave butter and honey 2 min on HIGH, or until bubbly. Stir everything into this glaze coating well, and pop back in 1-2 min until grapes are warm.

{August 12, 2008}   Negotiated Accordian Potatoes

Not really a recipe in and of itself you just put a wooden spoon handle to either side of your Idaho and slice down to the spoons. Then rub with oil or melted butter and season, the bake as a regular baked potato–except they look cuter. Try to evenly space your slices so the cook evenly and that’s really all that makes it hard. I honestly don’t make them often because of the extra work, but that’s probably why the 2 yo requested them for her special meal.

However, for Sunday’s dinner we really didn’t have good even potatoes for slicing this way so I improvised a couple for the kids and we over-4-footers just had regular baked potatoes. so here’s what I did…

Negotiated Accordian Potatoes
baking potatoes
olive oil
kosher salt
melted butter
garlic pwd, pwd sea salt

I sliced the potatoes about in half lengthwise to even out their thickness (they weren’t pretty), then sliced them not quite to the bottom about 1 cm or so apart in width. Then I rubbed a baking sheet with oil and sprinkled with kosher salt, laid the cut sides on the sheet and brushed the butter on the tops sprinkled garlic and salt over top and popped in the oven maybe 45 min-ish.

NB: The pros of this improvised method were it got a beautiful golden crisp bottom and was well seasoned the whole way thru, and baked faster… the unfortunateness of this was they really were too short to accordian open much (make sure to half them not parallel to their flater sides but thru the fattest part of their length…ie. when it lays on the table in it most comfortable postition just cut down the middle rather than turning it on it’s side). But it worked well enough to appease the kids and they loved having their own instead of a half (even though it really was a half, lol) and the boys particularly loved the crisp underbellies…so it may be a more frequent compromise and I may decide on how to additionally tweak it to enhance the visual effect. And I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture, I promised Little Hawk a picture because he can’t remember me making these the night he help babysit but I didn’t have a good Sunday and completely forgot to in an effort to power thru the extravagant effort baby girl’s menu was to require. So I’ll do this up right with pics at some point in the future.

et cetera