Demented Ramblings life is too short to refrain from eating jam out of the jar

14Jan/081

1 chicken= 3 meals

On friday, I bought a rotisserie chicken at the grocery. I get those occasionally and usually eat one breast off of it and the rest of the chicken rots in the fridge. Not this time!

So, on friday night, I had a nibbly meal with chicken and cheese and fruit and olives and bread. Yum!

Last night I stripped all of the chicken off of the carcass and threw it into a pan with a can of chicken broth and started simmering it. I tossed in a bit of seasoning, a shallot, 1 garlic clove, and a can of chopped chiles. I cooked it until the chicken broth was mostly evaporated/soaked into the chicken (softening it, as it was a bit overcooked and tough) then added a can of black beans. This I spooned over rice.

Tonight, I sauteed an onion, mixed half of it with the chicken and rice and set the rest aside. Then I made a quick chicken gravy from canned chicken broth. Half of that went into the chicken and rice and the reserved onions went into the other half and set aside for a moment. I spooned the chicken/rice/gravy mixture into tortillas and rolled them up. After all the enchiladas were rolled up, I topped them with the reserved gravy/sauce/whatever and baked them for a half hour.

And still tonight, it was too much food. If we'd made a side dish of some sort, there would have easily been enough for 3. But we didn't think they'd reheat for doodly, so pop stuffed himself to the gills and I ate as much as I could without making myself ill.

To sum up. One chicken turned into a plate full of nibblies, chicken etoufee of sorts, and chicken enchiladas. Aw yeah!

28Oct/07Off

Still not dead

For the record, this recipe is amazing!

http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/10/pumpkin-bread-pudding/

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17Sep/070

A random bit of food porn

I'm currently on a business trip - my first solo excursion longer than a day. I'm actually having a bit of fun exploring Columbus. Tonight, in my wanderings, I came across someplace called Stoney River for dinner. Pricey, but holy shit that was the best steak I've had in a very long time. I went with my waiter's recommendation of the coffee cured tenderloin. *drools* I'm stuffed to the gills right now and it still makes me drool to think about. Dude brought me their "stone puppies". *homer simpson drooly sound* Think teeny yeast roll with poppy seeds in it, deep fried like a doughnut hole and served with honey butter.

I had to ask Tony (my server) how one goes about coffee curing a steak. I'm going to put it here so that I'll remember later. Take triple strength coffee (think french press, not espresso) and lots of salt, mix in brown sugar and molasses, other spices if you like. Put your steak in there and a bunch of ice cubes to bring the temp down way low, then slide it in the fridge. Let it sit 3-4 hours. When you pull one out and check it, it should be tender but not falling apart. If it's falling apart then you've left it too long. Rinse it very well before cooking. They sear it on a griddle so that the sugar pulls out and carmelizes, then slide it into the oven to finish cooking. (it tasted rather like it had some rosemary in the marinade too)

I must try this at home. They served it with lyonaisse (?) potatoes and french green beans. Even though I couldn't finish the dinner, I succumbed to dessert when Tony mentioned the magic words....creme brulee! Ah hellz yeah! My favorite! It was a first for me, cinnamon creme brulee. I still like vanilla better but the cinnamon was damned good.

Perhaps I will find more yummy things to try to recreate at home while I'm on the road this week and next.

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8Jul/070

Too many!

Ack! What to do with a plethora of tomatoes!

Have I ever mentioned here that I really don't like tomatoes? It used to be a full on hatred, but I've been teaching myself tomato tolerance for the last few years. I still don't want to just pick a tomato fresh from the garden and bite into it, but I'm finding things to do to them that make me love them.

Twice this week, I made pizza - roasting the tomatoes first on the grill. Then on friday I threw together a quick tomato salad to go beside the burgers that we had for dinner.

I quartered cherry tomatoes, diced up a couple of slices of red onion, and minced a garlic clove. This was tossed with seasoned salt, lemon juice and olive oil. It was pretty danged tasty, I ate and even enjoyed a bit of it.

All of these tomatoes have my reflux kicking up something severe.

13Jun/070

Not just once, but twice

Twice this week (and it's only Wednesday!) I've cooked and it's turned out well. Even better than that, I even remembered to take pictures. I might turn into a foodblogger yet!

There was nothing terribly groundbreaking about Monday night's dinner. These were rehashed recipes, but thrown together in a new combination.

Here we have grilled tuna steak which was marinated in lime juice, olive oil, and Old Bay. Corn on the cob done in my new favorite way - grilled with lime, salt, and cayenne. And a quick bean salad consisting of canned (rinsed) beans, minced onion, jalapeno, lime juice, garlic, olive oil and cilantro.

Tonight I got a bit more adventurous.

Mustard crusted grilled pork tenderloin with mustard dill sauce, honey glazed sweet potato, and grilled asparagus. I found the recipe for the pork online somewhere and really liked it for its simplicity. Coat a pork tenderloin with a jar of stone ground mustard and 2-3 tsps of kosher salt. I only used half a jar of mustard since I only used one of the tenderloins in the package. Place the tenderloin on the grill (lowest setting) for 20 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until it reaches 165 F.

The asparagus has become a standby around here. We love it! If you've never grilled asparagus, I recommend getting to it. Toss trimmed asparagus spears with olive oil and kosher salt and place on the grill. I leave them there until they get a little blackened in spots.

Finally, the sweet potatoes. I had no recipe for these, just pulled something out of my head. It was mildly based on the fried sweet potatoes that my gran used to make for Pop. I peeled a sweet potato and sliced it into large slabs. These were placed on the grill for 10 or so minutes, until they looked ready to flip. After flipping them, I brushed warmed honey onto the top side. Once I thought the other side was about done, I flipped them again and brushed honey on the other side, giving it a few more minutes on the grill for the honey to sort of carmelize.

While everything else was cooking (believe me when I say I was running back and forth like crazy) I made a mustard dill sauce in the kitchen. I got the recipe from Get Saucy, a cookbook I have on hand. I had feared that the pork would be dry, as I tend to cook the daylights out of either pork or chicked because I seem to have some deep seated fear of undercooked meat (except beef, which I prefer medium). However, by cooking the pork slowly over very low heat, it was quite moist. The sauce was a great complement for it though.

6Jun/070

Blast my impatient ways!

I made the prettiest dessert the other night when the cute boyfriend was coming over. And, as always, dived into it without thinking to grab the camera! *rolls eyes*

It was quite simple and could have even been healthy if I'd wanted it to. However, the cute boyfriend refuses to touch sugar free stuff as it gives him digestive discomfort. So, feel free to recreate this in a sugar free version.

To start off, I mixed up a package of Jello french vanilla instant pudding according to the package directions and then put it in the fridge to set up. In an hour or so I started assembly.

For each dessert, you need one 100 calorie pack of shortbread cookies and a martini glass. I had enough pudding that I could have easily made 4 of them.

In each martini glass, I spooned a tablespoon or so of sliced strawberries, then smoothed vanilla pudding over it. I arranged the shortbread cookies around the rim of the glass, sticking down into the pudding and then slightly up over the edge of the glass. Spooned in more strawberries and topped it off with more pudding. After arranging the cookies around each glass, there were a couple left in each packet, so I smashed them up and sprinkled them on top. Then I put the glasses in the fridge for a bit to let the pudding soak into the cookies.

Just before serving, I topped each one with a dollop of cool whip and a strawberry slice. Yumtastic!

3Jun/070

Southern Fried Indian Feast

My urge to cook came back hardcore. However, the effort that I threw into it yesterday may have served to completely kill that urge once more. I completely slaved on this dinner and it didn't turn out all that great. It was all ok, but mostly just ok.

I had decided that I wanted to make my tandoori marinated chicken breasts and set out to find some Indian inspired side dishes. I flipped through cookbooks late on friday night and had mostly decided on fiery lime corn and yogurt mashed potatoes. I decided to go all out and attempt naan as well as a couple of chutneys.

When I got to the farmer's market yesterday, I found that peas were in season. Joy! Rapture! Glee! I love fresh peas. And I'd seen a recipe in the book for peas with homemade cheese. Hrm, I wasn't quite feeling up to making and frying cheese, so I found some farmers cheese there at the market. Frying farmers cheese does not work, by the way. I brought my oil to 300F just like for the homemade cheese, and dropped in a couple of cubes and....

melt. burn. stick. YUK!

Instead I opted to drop half of the cheese cubes into the peas while still warm and the other half once it was nice and cool. This dish contained onion, ginger, tomatoes, cumin, coriander, peas, and the cheese. Decent but not really a keeper.

Instead of red onion chutney, I opted for using vidalia onions. That was a pretty tasty experiment.

Sadly, my naan was a failure. I don't know if it wasn't a good recipe or if my baking powder was old and had lost its oomph. It tasted ok, but didn't poof up like it should have. I'll give it another try some other time.

The big keeper recipe of the meal was the fiery lime corn. I grilled corn until it was all done and scrumptious. Then, quarter a lime and dip the wedges into a mixture of sea salt and cayenne pepper. Instead of slathering the corn in butter, you rub/squeeze a lime wedge over each ear. The taste was so terrific that I didn't even miss the butter at all.

31May/071

Garden Update

I realized something today - there are items in my garden that I don't know how to check for ripeness. Tomatoes are easy, they turn a nice shade of red (or yellow) and they're ready. But what about lettuce? Or carrots? Or garlic and shallots?

The strawberries are pretty easy too, when they're ripe they'll be eaten by some strawberry loving beastie before I get to them. I've gotten exactly one so far. Of course, this is the first year for these plants and there have really only been about 5 ripe ones. However, I would really have liked to have gotten those as well.

My little garden is very happily growing, it's quite the jungle. The yard may be brown and sad (only 3/10" of rain in May!) but I give the garden a good soaking every other day and it's flourishing.

29May/070

Not dead yet!

Oh hey - a recipe of sorts.

Consider this a super simple beat the heat kind of beverage. I peeped in the fridge the other night and noticed I had most of a bottle of sweet and sour mixer. So, I rummaged around and found an unopened bottle of club soda.

  • Lots of ice
  • 1/2 ish glass of sweet and sour
  • fill with club soda
  • drop in a couple of cherries

It's rather like a virgin Tom Collins and would be super tasty with a little gin or vodka in it. However, I was simply looking for something simple, cool, and non-caffeinated. Plus, it used up some leftovers in the fridge. You can adjust the amounts of mixer and soda to your taste making it as sweet or not sweet as you like. It tasted quite a bit like a heavily syruped sprite.

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3May/070

How to ruin a diet in under 30 minutes.

More fiddling with pictures. On this one I didn't use the flash and let pshop auto correct the levels. The color is a wee bit off - vanilla ice cream isn't quite that yellowy and the rim on the plate is green. Note on that - those pyrex plates are ones that I've been eating off of for my entire life. My pop rescued them from Nana's garbage can when he and mum were first married. Yes, he's always been "frugal".

Bananas foster cake was a raging success. Much much much tastier than the derby cake and didn't leave me feeling nauseated. Derby cake is going to need quite a bit more experimentation before I'm ready to serve it at a function.

So, I started with the rum cake that I made last night (single 9 inch round). Then I made bananas foster and poured them over the top. I gave it a few minutes to soak into the cake, then served it up with a scoop of ice cream.

Y'know, I had a recipe for bananas foster once, but I haven't seen it for ages. It's become one of those things that I just go all native on now. Rather like when you ask your grandma how to make biscuits (unless it was my nana, whose biscuit recipe began with "get the pillsbury can out of the fridge and whack it against the counter"). I've even found that I can wing it in a pinch.

Tonight I tossed half a stick of butter (yes, real butter) in a skillet with maybe 3/4 cup of brown sugar. Fired up the heat to raging and let it come to a simmer. Then I sliced up 3 super overripe bananas into the mix and let them cook a bit, dropping the heat. The point is to get the bananas nice and done and banana flavor all through the sugar mixture. When the bananas are falling apart, it's done. Then I added a sploosh of vanilla extract and let that cook in. Followed that with a small sploosh of meyer's rum.

For real bananas foster, you are supposed to flambe them. However, I honestly could not tell you when was the last time our stove hood was degreased and I have no desire to set the kitchen on fire. So, I don't.

I should also tell you that, for safety's sake, you should remove the pan from the heat before adding the rum. I never have and it hasn't burst into flames yet. Remind me of that dumbass behavior when I burn my eyebrows off.

So, once the alcohol had cooked off of the rum, I spooned the whole mixture over the rum cake. Holy Jesus H. Christ on a pink polka dotted mini-bike! (I read that in someone's comments recently and it made me giggle, I love the imagery) A wee bit of ice cream on the side and it was absolute cake perfection. I will have a tough time protecting a piece of it from dad long enough for Sparks to get here.

All in all, a definite keeper. I think it might be even better than just plain old bananas foster with ice cream.