Monday, April 28, 2008

Poultry stock (p. 117) take two

First off, Josh decided that part of his stimulus check would be in vested in a KitchenAid ice cream machine. KitchenAid is so cool and has so many awesome accessories. This is the first one that we have invested in but I lust after the meat grinder and the pasta roller.

Some of you probably remember my poultry stock (take one). I included the liver, which is apparently not a good thing. So I started over... and we have Poultry stock (p. 117) take two.

This time the chicken didn't even HAVE variety meats--only the neck--so the offal problem would have never occurred with this particular chicken.

I like the idea of making chicken stock this way because a chicken is incredibly cheap. And as an added bonus, when you are done you have a chicken's worth of cooked poultry to use in other recipes!

I wish this was a smell-o-computer...because my house smelled delicious...

Look at all this extra chicken! I used some of the boiled chicken to make an awesome curry chicken for sandwiches. I modeled my sandwich after the curry chicken sandwiches at Paradise Cafe. The sandwich at Paradise was really good but cost $8--for a half sandwich! And no drink! I was horrified! Frankly, my version was better and a hellava cheaper.

Look how much stock this recipe made! 5 containers. I really wish we had a chest freezer...we always end up throwing some of it away because we can't get it all used before it turns. Frustrating. But this time the stock had a full, chicken-y flavor without any hints of liver!

Stay tuned! I'll probably get four or five blogs posted in one fell swoop (and by the by--what does the "fell" in that statement mean?).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ground beef tacos (p.188)

So...tacos...yum! Who doesn't like tacos? What motivated me try making Ground beef tacos (p.188)?

In one word, Rachel. My best friend Rachel was going on and on about how easy tacos are to make from scratch and how much better they are than using a taco seasoning mix. I pretended I knew what she was talking about and immediately decided to make from scratch tacos.

Apparently, taco seasoning is just garlic cloves, chili powder, cumin, and coriander.

And it's a hellava lot better than taco seasoning mix--Rachel was totally right! I really recommend making these--I truly don't think they took any more time using the premade mix.

The start--ground beef and simple!

Yum...the ground beef, tomato sauce and up nicely!

The world's tastiest fruity vegetable...the lovable avocado...

Yum...look at those tasty pieces of jalapeƱo...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Grilled Lamb Chops (p. 493)

Lamb chops (p. 493) were on a sale at the grocery store and I was sure there were some lamb chop recipes in TJOC. And there were!!

Lamb chops are so cute :) They look like tiny tiny steaks. Josh was concerned about having enough but I'm not as big of a fan of lamb as he is--so I let him have all three of them.

I'm not positive why these are so spaced out on the grill. The recipe is really easy--take lamb chops, rub the sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and grill!

The final product:

If I had a better camera and more attractive plates, this could have been a really attractive photo !!

I'm getting caught up on former (unwritten) blogs so check back!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pork Adobo (p. 502)

Obviously, I am behind on these :) I'm catching up slowly! I posted three this morning and I have about another five on the docket! I have great news to announce soon though...but not yet!

So my dad came to visit (which was great!) and I decided to make pork for him since he is a pork person. I made Pork Adobo (p. 502). The other reason I made this? I found pork shoulder steaks on sale at the store--although I had to half this recipe.

My favorite part of this recipe is this: The first line says that "Adobo is a marinade of chile peppers, paprika, and vinegar..."--but this recipe doesn't have any paprika in it. I would think that if you are going to mention a set of spices that were intrinsic to a recipe, you would expect that they would all be IN the recipe.

I didn't have any cider instead I used a mixture of the vinegars I did wine vinegar and white (my mom always has non-politically correct things to say about white vinegar--suffice it to say, she doesn't think it should be cooked with).

The marinated steaks, with the tomatoes. YUM!

The cooked pork, without the sauce.

Reducing the sauce...Before....

Reducing the sauce...After...

It was really delicious! I usually don't like cinnamon, but this flavor was complex and tasty. There weren't any leftovers :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Baked Bacon (p. 508)

Bacon. Oh, how I love bacon. But it's such a pain in the rear to fry it up--it makes a mess, it takes a long time, and you have to hover over it the whole time, so it doesn't burn. Microwave bacon isn't crispy, so I don't like it. And the guys I work with say oven-fried bacon is the way to go. So I decided to make it...Baked Bacon (p. 508).

This is barely a recipe. I mean, you take bacon out of the package, put it in a pre-heated oven (350), and wait until it's cooked.

The bacon, pre-cooked. It's a little over-lapped, but what can you do (well, use a bigger pan, I suppose).

The cooked bacon. It was good but not crispy enough--when I made it later using an oven heated to 400 fixed that problem.

So what did I want the bacon for?

I was watching Top Chef (I'm a big fan!!) and they kept making grilled items. All I could think was yuummm...I could sure use a burger....even though it was 9 pm and I was going to bed soon. But, hey, I had ground beef...

I mixed the ground beef, some garlic powder, and a ton of black pepper. I then threw it on the George Foreman--you can mock me but that is truly the fastest way to cook burgers. I didn't have any buns, but some cheese, bacon, and hamburger is truly ambrosia.

Oh...and ketchup, the nectar of the gods....

Monday, April 14, 2008

Poultry Stock take one (p. 117) and Butternut Squash Soup (p. 129)

So why does my post start with Poultry Stock TAKE ONE (p. 117)? This conversation might clear it up...

Me (washing the chicken): Do you think the variety meats go into the stock?

Josh: Which variety meats?

Me: I don't know, the chicken neck, gizzard, liver, and heart?

Josh: I don't see why not.

Me: So I should just throw them in?

Josh: Sure.

So I did. Apparently, believe it or not--the liver makes the broth taste like liver! That's probably fine if you like liver. But we don't. Ick! I used the stock once and threw the rest away :( And there is only one picture of this will have to wait for take two!

If only we had smell-o-computer!

I decided to do this in the first place because canned chicken stock is expensive and salty. It seems stupid when a chicken is less than five bucks, and you end up with both the cooked chicken and the stock--really cost-effective! So if you are trying to save money, make your own stock and eat the chicken.

So what did I make with my liver-chicken stock? It needed to be something strong...I figured I would make Butternut Squash Soup (p. 129). I'll admit, I love squash--all squash. I grew up eating a ton of it because squash plants are prolific and my father always planted tons in his garden.

The squash--to remove the seeds, I used a spoon, but a grapefruit spoon would be much better. I don't have any grapefruit spoons though....
The recipe doesn't say to cut the squash in half, but i thought they might cook better that way.

Post-cooking--so much lighter!

Now onto another problem--scraping the cooked (and slightly cooled) squash from the skin. I hate doing stuff like that and I tend to burn my fingers. So I looked around at my cooking gadgets...if a peeler can peel a raw squash, why not a cooked squash? So I tried it. It worked extremely well! I highly recommend doing it this way.

I love this style of peeler. I think they peel way better and you can dig out potato eyes with the end.

Leeks. Some of you may remember that I was intimidated by them before...I've read so much about how you have to get all the grit out that I was convinced they were difficult to wash. They aren't! But you do seem to waste a lot of the leek--really, the whole top gets thrown away (unless any of you know anything to do with it!). The leek/ginger mixture smelled really, really good).

The uncooked squash mixture...simmering...yum....
It only has to simmer for about 20 minutes. This is not a slow soup, which is great!

Pureeing the soup...of course, this wouldn't be a problem if I had an immersion blender or a food processor that wasn't a three-cup. But I don't. So I used a blender.
Let me tell you, if you like to live on the end, pour hot soup, using the incredibly hot steel handles of the pot, into a blender. Then use such-said cheap blender, holding the top on, so the entire kitchen isn't covered in butternut squash. It was absolutely terrifying.
But eventually, it worked.

The finished soup....I know it's not a very good picture, but the soup was absolutely delicious. So good--but a little thin. I might use a big butternut squash next time.
The weirdest thing about this soup? I made it with the squash that was on the table. Later, I went back to the table, looked in the bag--and there was ANOTHER butternut squash! So the one I used must have been ancient--or the butternut squash has learned how to clone itself! Apparently, squash stay good for a long time...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Why haven't I been posting???

This post has no food in it. I promise not to do this to you very frequently!

1. TED ALLEN READ MY BLOG! This is incredibly exciting to me. I wish he just stumbled upon it but oh well! I was reading his blog and posted a link to mine in an email I sent him. I actually got a response that was specific--he obviously read at least a few posts. Wow!

2. I was late posting the last two go read them! And comment, I heart comments :) They make me feel loved!

3. I was in Hong Kong, Mainland China, and Taiwan for ten days, so there was a while of no cooking. I promise to cook this weekend and post ON TIME. And I will post pictures of my trip--perhaps even by editing this blog, so check back!

Probably the best food related part of this trip was the delicious tea. I love tea...

In fact, here is a picture of me cuddling with the Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime bear (even thought that is one of my least favorite CS teas)...